UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State has recognized William A. Jaffe, a 1960 alumnus and a leader of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, as its 2011 Fundraising Volunteer of the Year. The award, which was officially presented to Jaffe on Oct. 14, honors the leadership of alumni and friends in securing philanthropic support for the University.
“Bill understands this complex institution from so many different perspectives: as an alumnus, as a community leader, as a volunteer and as a donor himself,” said Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. “He has served the University not only with tremendous perceptiveness and expertise, but also with the grace and good humor that make us keep coming back to him, again and again. Through his example, he has ensured that Penn State blue and white stands for philanthropy and service as well as pride and tradition.”
Jaffe is currently the chair of the President’s Club, a society recognizing donors whose annual gifts to Penn State total $2,500 or more. He also serves on the executive committee of the For the Future campaign and the board of the Renaissance Fund, which provides scholarships for talented students in need. His history as a fundraising volunteer for the University stretches back to the University’s first major effort, The Campaign for Penn State, and he was a member of the Intercollegiate Athletics committee in the Grand Destiny campaign. Beyond his fundraising roles, he has served the College of Communications Alumni Society board, Penn State Hillel, the Parent and Family Advisory Board and the Penn State Alumni Association, among others.
“Bill has been the kind of alumnus and partner that every institution longs to have,” said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. “His profound gratitude for his Penn State education has inspired his own extraordinary generosity and commitment, and it also inspires all of us who have the pleasure of working alongside him on behalf of the University. He has helped to create the culture of giving back that is so much a part of what it means to be a Penn Stater today.”
Jaffe made his first gift to Penn State in 1961, a year after he graduated from the University with a degree in journalism. He went on to a long career in human resources, and he remains the principal of the Jaffe Group, a consulting firm. In 1995, Jaffe and his wife, Honey, an honorary Penn State alumnus, settled in State College, where they have become community leaders and prominent supporters of both local organizations and the University, including the performing and fine arts, Penn State Hillel, the College of Communications, public broadcasting, and Intercollegiate Athletics. Jaffe has served as president of Pennsylvania Centre Stage, and his commitments have also included the Centre County Community Foundation, the Mount Nittany Conservancy and Centre County United Way. He is a recipient of Alumni Fellow and Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year honors from the University.
“This is such a wonderful and meaningful award,” said Jaffe. “Love for Penn State typically starts with involvement and service. Gradually, it evolves into philanthropy, which enables future students and the community to share in what a university brings -- education, employment opportunities, an interest in the arts and athletics and making the State College area a better place in which to reside. I’m honored to have had the chance to share that message with other Penn Staters, and I am honored to be the University’s Fundraising Volunteer of the Year.”