As the fall semester came to a close, Penn State Beaver reached several milestones -- one on campus and one in the community -- with the help of faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends.
In December, Chancellor Gary Keefer and Diana Patterson, director of development, announced that the campus has raised $2 million for "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students." The amount raised to date already exceeds the total raised by the end of the previous campaign. Beaver is now two-thirds of the way toward its $3 million goal for the campaign, which will close in 2014.
In addition, friends and members of the Beaver Valley Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association solicited gifts from the community to give to a record number of 129 children as part of the group’s annual Holiday Gift Drive for children who are clients of Beaver County Children and Youth Services.
To round out the semester’s good news, the Penn State Beaver Alumni Society raised more than $21,000 for Beaver campus scholarships through its 11th annual golf outing. To date, the Alumni Society’s golf outings have generated more than $120,000 for campus scholarships and enhancement projects. Patterson, who also is the campus liaison for the Alumni Society, said the group already is planning its 2012 golf outing in addition to other projects throughout the year.
"Donor support for the campus campaign has been remarkable," Patterson said. "We’ve received a lot of support at many levels from a variety of individuals and organizations."
Patterson said a great example of this loyalty occurred in November when a campus alumnus unexpectedly stopped by her office. He came to give her an unsolicited, four-figure donation that he wanted Patterson and Keefer to use where they thought campus need was greatest.
"That’s the kind of support that reminds us of the enormous impact Beaver campus and the University have made in the lives of so many people." Patterson said. "These alumni and friends clearly understand what Beaver campus is about. They know our primary mission is to provide students with a world-class, internationally-recognized degree that will prepare them for a successful career."
The public clearly supports Beaver’s academic mission, but it also is loyal to the community outreach and service arm of the campus. That dedication is clearly seen when it comes to the Alumni Chapter’s annual Holiday Gift Drive for Children.
The chapter has a longtime tradition of conducting a gift drive for children who are clients of Beaver County Children and Youth Services. The chapter contacts individuals and groups who are willing to purchase gifts for children. In addition, cash donations are welcome and are used to buy gifts for additional children at CYS. This year’s cash donations alone totaled more than $1,000.
"The response to this annual project has been overwhelming," said Roseann Simoni, a Penn State alumna and one of several primary coordinators of the gift drive. "Eighteen years ago we started this as a community service project for chapter members. It has grown into a program that is generously supported not only by chapter members and their friends but by the public and campus faculty, staff and students."
Simoni also noted that in fall 2010 the chapter received the Penn State Alumni Association’s Community Service Award in recognition of the continued success and impact of the children’s gift drive.
"Higher education continues to be a financial challenge for many students," Keefer said, "so we’re gratified by the overwhelming support we’ve received from campus friends. The majority of these gifts are targeted primarily for scholarships which go a long way in helping our students reach their academic and career goals."