Longtime supporter makes $1 million gift for scholarships in education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State’s College of Education has received the single largest gift toward scholarships in its history from John Gilmartin, a 1965 graduate of the University. The Boston, Mass., resident has committed an additional outright gift of $1 million to the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship, which he created in 2003. In total, the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship is expected to assist more than 40 students, including many future teachers, every year.

“I am deeply concerned about the burden that dwindling state support for public institutions like Penn State is likely to place on students, especially those considering careers in education,” said Gilmartin. “Our future as a country depends upon the preparation that teachers bring to our classrooms. It’s important to keep a Penn State degree affordable for education majors so that they can take on the challenging and emotionally rewarding positions that will make the biggest difference in their communities and pursue the kind of graduate studies that will help them become even more effective educators.”

Gilmartin’s gift, which comes as the College is pursuing enhanced scholarship support through For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, will create powerful momentum toward that objective, said David H. Monk, dean of the College of Education. “We are profoundly grateful to John Gilmartin for this gift, which helps to set a new standard for support of College of Education students,” said Monk. “We’re confident that his generosity will have a powerful multiplicative impact by inspiring other Penn State alumni and friends -- not just graduates of our College, but anyone who shares his belief in the importance of education -- to join him in creating scholarships for our students.”

Scholarships are the top priority of the University-wide For the Future campaign, which aims to raise a total of $2 billion in new support for Penn State by 2014. Through the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program, donors can maximize the impact of their giving while meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. Penn State matches 5 percent of the total pledge or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created, making funds available immediately for student awards. This University match, which is approximately equal to the endowment’s annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, doubling the support available for students with financial need.

Gilmartin, who earned a degree in finance from Penn State's Smeal College of Business, is a retired chief executive officer of Millipore Corp., a worldwide provider of products and services to life sciences companies. Since 1995, he has been involved with a number of successful charter schools in Boston. His wife, Maryann Gilmartin, is a former preschool teacher with a master’s degree in early childhood education from Wheelock College.

John Gilmartin is a longtime supporter of the University and the College of Education. His past gifts include the John A. Gilmartin Renaissance Scholarship and the John Gilmartin Endowment for Enhancing Educational Opportunities, which supports a wide range of initiatives reaching out to students from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Gilmartin said that his latest gift is also a birthday present to himself. “I turn 69 this year, and I can’t think of a better way to mark the milestone than making this gift to our Trustee Scholarship,” he said. “My education at Penn State changed my life and has helped me to reach a point where I can give back, and I am delighted to make a Penn State degree possible for education students who will go on to enrich the lives of others.”

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Last Updated October 11, 2011