Shaner named 2010 Renaissance Fund honoree

University Park, Pa. -- State College business and civic leader Lance Shaner has been named Penn State’s 2010 Renaissance Fund honoree, and will be recognized in November at the 34th annual Renaissance Fund dinner, according to John Walizer, president of the fund’s board of directors.

Each year, the Renaissance Fund honors an individual or couple who, through a lifetime of service, has contributed greatly to the Penn State and State College communities. In its selection process, the fund's board of directors seeks to recognize individuals who have deep roots in the Centre Region, close relationships with civic and University leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy.

"Ever since Lance first came to State College, he's been deeply involved with the local and Penn State communities, and helping various organizations thrive with his own contributions," said Walizer. "We are extremely proud and excited to honor him at our dinner in November."

This year's program will be held Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus, with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.

The annual dinner raises money in the honoree's name. Contributions are used to endow Renaissance Fund scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students who have great financial need. Since the fund's inception in 1969, nearly $9 million has been raised. During the 2009-10 academic year, 416 students received Renaissance scholarships totalling $624,000.

Lance Shaner's career has centered on finance, energy production, investment management and the hospitality field. He is president and CEO of State College-based Shaner Hotels, one of the largest hotel owner-operator groups in the nation; and co-founder and chairman of the board of Rex Energy, an independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, production, exploration and development of oil and gas.

Shaner serves as a trustee at his alma mater, Alfred University, in New York. He has been a board member for The Second Mile, the YMCA and the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County. He has chaired local fundraising campaigns for the United Way and YMCA and has been a lead donor to Centre Volunteers in Medicine and Easter Seals. Under his direction, Shaner Group maintains a regional baseball field and sponsors an annual charity golf tournament.

Shaner’s civic involvement has earned him recognition from the community. In 2005, he received the Palmer Award for Extraordinary Philanthropy from United Way, and has received the Golden Hammer Award from Habitat for Humanity several times.

As a philanthropist, he has made gifts to the Renaissance Fund for many years and is a champion of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics, serving as a member of its campaign committee during the University's Grand Destiny capital campaign. He recently created a Penn State World Campus scholarship for members of the military, in honor of his great-great-grandfather, Samuel, who served during the Civil War. He has supported the construction or renovation of facilities on the University Park campus, including Rec Hall, the University Libraries and the Bryce Jordan Center; as well as several buildings in the State College area, such as the Easter Seals Child Development Center, the expansion of the YMCA, Mount Nittany Hospital, and The Second Mile's Center for Excellence.

Shaner graduated from Alfred University with a bachelor's degree in History. It was there that he met his wife, Ellen, as a fellow student. They married in 1977, and moved to State College in 1993. The Shaners have three children, all of whom have attended Penn State, and all of whom, like their father, have started their own businesses.

For Renaissance Fund dinner information or to make a contribution, contact Kathy Kurtz in the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052 or klk13@psu.edu.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010