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Smeal alumnus leaves lasting legacy by creating the Fred H. Schaefer Scholars Program in Accounting

March 25, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Smeal College of Business has received a $4 million gift from the estate of late alumnus Fred Schaefer to create the Fred H. Schaefer Scholars Program in Accounting.

The Schaefer Scholars Program will provide scholarship support for participants and will encourage leadership and ethical standards, a commitment to community service and a study abroad or international internship experience.

Schaefer, who passed away in 2018, earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1966 and an MBA in 1968, both from Penn State. He began his career at Arthur Anderson and was subsequently offered a job at Triarc Companies, Inc., a conglomerate with interests in propane, fast food and more. He was a former senior vice president and chief accounting officer at Triarc. Triarc acquired Wendy’s International, Inc. in 2008, and Schaefer retired as senior vice president of Wendy’s in 2010.

In retirement, Schaefer was president of his condominium board and cheered for his beloved New York Yankees and Penn State Nittany Lions, including the football, wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball teams. Any time Penn State played at Madison Square Garden, you could count on Schaefer to attend.

“Fred has been described as the quintessential CPA. His integrity and commitment to excellence were remarkable, and he was widely respected as a mentor and a friend. I am incredibly grateful to Fred for his vision for the Fred Schaefer Scholars Program in Accounting,” said Dean Charles H. Whiteman.

Accounting students will be invited to participate in a competitive application process. Applicants will be evaluated on qualifications such as academic merit, community engagement, and extracurricular and leadership experiences. Financial need will also play a role in determining eligibility for the program.

Once accepted, students will remain in the program as long as they remain in good academic standing.

“This will be a unique and prestigious program for Smeal and the Department of Accounting. Challenging students to undertake a more rigorous and stimulating academic experience as part of a close-knit community of talent and ambition is a fitting legacy for Fred,” Whiteman said.

Schaefer Scholars will attend up to three ethics lectures per semester and will be expected to assume leadership roles in student clubs and organizations across the University.

They will also receive a one-time travel grant to support an international internship or semester abroad, a required element of the program. It is designed to broaden their worldview and prepare them for business in a global economy. Service to others will also be emphasized. Schaefer Scholars will be expected to complete a minimum of 10 hours of community service each year.

“Mr. Schaefer spoke highly of his undergraduate and MBA degrees from Penn State, crediting our accounting program with putting him on the path to a prosperous career,” said Henock Louis, KPMG Professor of Accounting and chair of the Department of Accounting.

“I am thankful to him for his decision to create the Schaefer Scholars Program. I understand how important it was to him to help Smeal develop new generations of ethical leaders, and I look forward to the impact the Schaefer Scholars Program will have for our students.”

The program, which is open to junior- and senior-level accounting students and Integrated MAcc students, will enroll its first cohort this fall.

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

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