Peter and Ann Tombros affirm campaign vision with $5 million gift

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two leading Penn State volunteers and supporters have made their second major commitment to the University’s current fundraising initiative, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. Peter G. Tombros, who chairs the campaign, and Ann Tombros, a member of the fundraising committees for the University Libraries and the Palmer Museum of Art, have announced a gift of $5 million toward For the Future’s vision of Penn State as the most student-centered public research university in the country. This follows an earlier commitment made by the Tombroses of $10 million in 2008.

“Peter and Ann have led this campaign not only through their tireless service but also through their exceptional example of generosity,” said Penn State President Rodney A. Erickson. “They were among the earliest major donors to the campaign, and their philanthropy has continued to transform areas across our institution. Peter and Ann have long recognized that Penn State’s strength comes from the marrying of tradition and vision, building upon our past success to anticipate the demands of the future.”

The Tombroses’ most recent major gift to Penn State helped to create the Tombros and McWhirter Knowledge Commons in Pattee-Paterno Library, a state-of-the-art facility that brings together the familiar resources of a world-class library with technologies that enable new modes of teaching and learning. Their past giving includes endowments for the University Libraries’ collections in the classics and support for renovation of the Arts and Humanities Library. The Tombroses are also supporters of intercollegiate athletics, medicine, musical theatre, science, public broadcasting and other Penn State programs.

“Ann and I have long believed that the University’s enduring strength depends upon the support and engagement of its alumni and friends,” said Peter Tombros. “We have been deeply grateful for all the opportunities that Penn State has made possible for us, and the current campaign is a way to ensure that those opportunities continue to grow for new generations of Penn Staters. We hope that our gift inspires other supporters, especially those who have already made their own gifts to For the Future, to consider whether they can do more for our students and our institution.”

Ann Tombros is a longtime friend and supporter of the University, where she has volunteered in the University Libraries, including the 150th Libraries celebration dinner; the Palmer Museum of Art; the Grand Destiny Campaign; and the current For the Future campaign. Ann taught elementary school in the State College and Philadelphia area public schools and later at the Lenox School, a private girls school in Manhattan. In New Canaan, Conn., where the Tombroses still reside, Ann founded and managed a property management firm. Ann also has served as a volunteer at her local public library and hospital.

Peter Tombros earned his bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences and master's degree in agricultural economics from Penn State in 1964 and 1968, respectively. Peter also holds an master of business administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, where he held a variety of positions, including executive vice president, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and corporate vice president for strategic planning. In 1994, Peter left Pfizer to become president and CEO of Enzon. Following his retirement from Enzon, Peter served on eight different public company boards. Currently, he is director of Cambrex and nonexecutive chairman of the Board of NPS Pharmaceuticals. Today, he donates his time as Penn State professor and distinguished executive-in-residence in the Eberly College of Science B.S./M.B.A. Program. He was honored in 2006 with Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations, said, “The success that For the Future has achieved so far, with more than $1.6 billion raised, would not have been possible without the leadership of Peter and Ann Tombros. As we enter the final phase of the campaign, this new commitment is inspiring to all of us who share Peter and Ann’s belief in the power of philanthropy to transform the lives of students and the future of Penn State.”

For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students 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 June 2014.

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Last Updated October 18, 2012