AccuWeather founder pledges $2 million for Penn State weather center

University Park, Pa. – Joel N. Myers, the founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather Inc. and current Penn State trustee and alumnus, has committed $2 million to help ensure Penn State’s continued international leadership in meteorology, University President Graham B. Spanier announced at the Board of Trustees meeting today (Sept. 11).

The gift will support the Department of Meteorology’s weather center including its new facility on the sixth floor of Walker Building on the University Park campus. It is the largest gift ever made to the department and among the largest ever received for programs in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

In recognition of Myers’ generosity, the new weather facility will be named "The Joel N. Myers Weather Center."

Myers, who received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology from Penn State, is founder, chairman of the board, and president of AccuWeather Inc., a global multimedia weather information source dedicated to saving lives, protecting property and helping people prosper. AccuWeather has headquarters in State College, Pa. Now a household name, AccuWeather presents accurate, localized, branded forecasts and severe weather bulletins to more than 110 million Americans each day via the internet, mobile devices, the AccuWeather Television Network and new technologies such as IPTV, as well as through the airwaves and in print. With more than 350 employees, including 113 meteorologists, AccuWeather delivers a portfolio of customized products and services to more than 250,000 media, business, government and institutions worldwide, and informs hundreds of millions of visitors around the globe through the free AccuWeather.com website and through more than 200,000 third-party internet sites, which feature AccuWeather.com forecasts.

“AccuWeather’s success has been tied to the Penn State experience in many ways and for many decades. What I learned from this great University as an undergraduate and graduate student, as a faculty member for 17 years, and then for the past 28 years as a member of the Board of Trustees, has been a major factor in my success, in AccuWeather’s success, and in the success of many people who have been affiliated with Penn State.” said Myers. “This donation is one way in which I want to say ‘thank you’ for what Penn State has meant to me throughout my life.”

“We’re extremely proud that the name of one of Penn State’s most prominent and influential graduates in meteorology will be identified with one of the Department of Meteorology’s most visible and important facilities,” said Spanier. “In addition, Joel’s philanthropy serves as an inspiration to other alumni and friends as they consider their own major gifts to Penn State, and as we draw nearer to launching the public phase of the University’s capital campaign.”

For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, is set to kick off in April 2010.

Myers, too, expressed a hope that his own commitment would serve as a “spark” for further giving by other Penn Staters.

“I’ve served as a University Trustee for nearly 30 years, and I have seen time and again how major gifts can transform entire programs,” he said. “In this case, Penn State’s meteorology program has long been ranked among the nation’s best. My aim is to ensure its continued prominence, and to help lift it to even higher levels of achievement.”

William Easterling, dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, noted that the weather center facility recently underwent a complete renovation.

“It’s now extremely well-positioned to benefit from the kind of dependable endowed support that Joel’s gift will provide,” he said. “One of the most critical needs is to keep up to date with technology. That means replacing computer and other information systems every three or four years, just to keep pace with changes in the state-of-the-art.

“The weather center also serves as a place to nurture camaraderie among future generations of Penn State meteorologists, a place where they can develop the friendships and shared experiences that contribute to the unique, lifelong bond among our alumni.”

Students and faculty at the center record comprehensive weather observations and data. The center features an electronic map wall consisting of 36 large computer monitors, a computer lab with 36 individual workstations, a high-tech classroom, conference rooms, student lounge and weather-graphics preparation area. It also is home to the Campus Weather Service and the Weather Communications Group, both of which produce forecasts for the public.

Myers, a Philadelphia native, founded AccuWeather as a one-man shop in 1962, while he was a Penn State graduate student, fulfilling a long-held ambition to begin a business that would educate mass audiences about the weather and how it impacts everyday life. Since then, AccuWeather has since evolved into an internationally known company, while Myers has won numerous awards for his business acumen, including being named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top 500 entrepreneurs in American history

Meanwhile, he retained an interest in the science of weather and served on the University’s meteorology faculty from 1964 until 1981. For 18 years, Myers appeared on the Penn State “Weather/World” broadcast. In 1981, he was elected to Penn State’s Board of Trustees. He has been re-elected to nine consecutive three-year terms as a Trustee since that time.

His previous philanthropy to Penn State includes gifts for scholarships in meteorology and in information sciences and technology, and weather-themed sculptures, such as the sundial by the Nittany Lion Inn and the frequently televised Nittany Lion weather vane atop Beaver Stadium.

Penn State began keeping comprehensive weather records in 1882. The weather center dates from about 1935, when the Department of Meteorology was established. Today, about one in four meteorologists in the United States holds a Penn State degree.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 06, 2010