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Smith Trustee Scholarship to Support Entrepreneurial Undergrads in Smeal

A new scholarship designed to recognize aspiring entrepreneurs in the Smeal College of Business has been created by Penn State alumnus Richard Smith and his wife, Linda Hoffman, of Tucson, Ariz.
June 13, 2013

A new scholarship designed to recognize aspiring entrepreneurs in the Smeal College of Business has been created by Penn State alumnus Richard Smith and his wife, Linda Hoffman, of Tucson, Ariz.

The couple committed $50,000 to create the Richard A. Smith Trustee Scholarship, targeted to students who demonstrate a strong interest in entrepreneurship through their course selection.

“[W]e want to encourage students to take advantage of every educational opportunity they can in order to prepare them to face these challenges [of business ownership] head-on.”

Smith and Hoffman chose to support entrepreneurial education at Smeal because of the college’s solid reputation as well as its curriculum in entrepreneurship and innovation—including an interdisciplinary minor for undergraduates.

“Rick and Linda know how important it is to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in our students, especially at the undergraduate level,” said Charles H. Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal. “Their commitment to this scholarship will help develop students who gravitate toward creativity and innovation in business.”

Smith is the president of BreakMakers, Inc., named for his family’s philanthropic vision of helping to provide others with educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. The 1974 graduate of the College of Health and Human Development and his wife, an alumna of the University of Maryland, recently retired from Golf Cars of Arizona (GCA), a golf car dealership that they bought in 1993.

Before moving to Arizona in the early 1990s, the couple lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. metro area. They knew they wanted to run their own company, and their research led them to GCA. Over 19 years, they grew the company from one location to a multi-million dollar operation with three locations.

“We understand the unique challenges of business ownership, and we want to encourage students to take advantage of every educational opportunity they can in order to prepare them to face these challenges head-on,” said Smith. “We know that Smeal is a great place to do this, because education in the area of entrepreneurship is growing quickly there. We feel confident that Smeal can give students the foundation they need to be successful business people and entrepreneurs.”

The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program maximizes the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. In this groundbreaking philanthropic model, Penn State matches 10 percent of the total pledge or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created, making funds available immediately for student awards. This University match, which is approximately double the endowment's annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, tripling the support available for students with financial need.

The Richard A. Smith Trustee Scholarship will help the Smeal College of Business to reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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