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One Year Later, Students Feel Impact of Nevins Scholarship

Alumnus David Nevins’ gift of $1.1 million is the largest private gift to support scholarships for minority students in the history of Smeal and promotes the college’s diversity.
August 28, 2013

Last year, as Penn State was still dealing with some difficult challenges, David Nevins ’69 was thinking about what he could do to help move the University forward. He had been weighing a philanthropic gift to the Smeal College of Business, and he knew the time to act had arrived.

“Part of my thought process at the time was ‘now more than ever,’“ Nevins said. “This was not the time to abandon the University but to step up to the plate.”

“It feels good to get a scholarship, to know that someone recognizes all your hard work.” -- Jasmine Phelps

And he did. His commitment of $1.1 million is the largest private gift to support scholarships for minority students in the history of the Smeal College. The Nevins Diversity Scholarship Fund will promote the diversity of the Smeal College student body in the future, while the Nevins Trustee Scholarship is already supporting today’s students.

Jasmine Phelps of North Brunswick, NJ, a senior majoring in Marketing at Smeal, is one of four Nevins Trustee Scholarship recipients this year, and this will be her second year receiving the award. An active member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and the women’s club basketball team, Phelps completed a retail management internship with Nordstrom, Inc., this summer. Phelps is a twin whose brother also attends Penn State, and she appreciates the financial assistance that helps her with the cost of tuition.

“It feels good to get a scholarship, to know that someone recognizes all your hard work,” Phelps said. “It helps with so many things academically. I was super honored to get it.”

Phelps found ways to get involved from the day she arrived on campus. Because of the scholarship she has felt less pressure to hold down a job during the semester and finds she can devote more time to the activities that have meaning for her. “I’ve always worked,” Phelps said, “but with a scholarship I don’t have to work as much.”

The opportunity to hone her leadership skills in a student organization meant a lot to Phelps. Last spring she coordinated a fashion show for NABA. It was a time-consuming job, but she felt it was worth it, and the experience helped her secure the internship with Nordstrom.

“Our students should embrace every opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and gain the experiences that hopefully will mold them into great citizens for our country.” -- David Nevins

“The internship was a great experience because of the value on leadership and life skills,” Phelps said. “I can use what I learned for the rest of my life.”

This pleases Nevins, who wants to encourage smart, motivated students to take advantage of the incredible opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom, that come from being in the Penn State environment.

“These are special years that will become part of who you are,” Nevins said. “Our students should embrace every opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and gain the experiences that hopefully will mold them into great citizens for our country.”

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