IST alumnus gives $400,000 to create scholarship for entrepreneurship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) has received a $400,000 gift -- the largest from a graduate in its 13-year history -- from San Francisco CEO and IST alumnus David Rusenko. The gift will create the David Rusenko Scholarship for Entrepreneurship, which will help IST students to launch their own companies while they are still in school.

"IST has done a tremendous job creating well-rounded technical graduates," said Rusenko, a 2007 graduate and co-founder of San Francisco firm Weebly. "I’m excited to help encourage students to think seriously about creating and joining startups."

Weebly, launched in 2006 to offer free, easy-to-use website-building tools, developed out of an IST class project by Rusenko, his fellow IST alumnus Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri, a graduate of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Within its first year, Weebly was named one of the 50 best websites by TIME magazine. In December 2011, Rusenko was named to Forbes' "30 Under 30: Social/Mobile," a list of influential under-30-year-olds in the social media and mobile industries. He received the Alumni Achievement Award from the Penn State Alumni Association in 2010, becoming the youngest recipient of that award and the first recipient from IST.

"We’re very proud of David’s accomplishments, and we’re extremely grateful for his generous gift," said Dean David Hall. "Our college was founded on the principle of innovation, and our culture encourages students to find new kinds of solutions to problems in business and society. Weebly is an excellent example of how those ideas can be translated into real results for real consumers. It’s very exciting that the Rusenko Scholarship will now be available to help other students forge similar paths to finding solutions and achieving success."

Rusenko’s gift to IST continues his active support for entrepreneurship among young people. He has spoken on the topic to Penn State students and serves as an adviser to Innoblue, a State-College-based organization that helps members of the Penn State community launch their own start-up companies. This week, Rusenko is taking part in the College of IST’s Start-up Week, which is bringing successful entrepreneurs from around the country to discuss opportunities in the technology sector. For more information about the IST Start-up Week, visit http://ist.psu.edu/startup online.

Rusenko’s gift will help the College of IST and the University to reach the goals of 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 campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. For the Future is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Last Updated June 01, 2012