Altoona, Pa. -- Altoona residents Stephen G. and Nancy L. Sheetz have made a $2.5 million commitment to Penn State Altoona, the largest gift in the 70-year history of the campus. The gift will offer students new opportunities to excel in entrepreneurial studies. The donors will announce specific designations for the gift at a future date.
"On behalf of our entire Penn State Altoona family, I extend sincere gratitude to Steve and Nancy for their transformational gift," said Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. "Steve and Nancy have been loyal friends of our campus, offering philanthropic support for many years. This latest act of generosity demonstrates their unwavering support of our community and their shared vision for Penn State Altoona’s educational goals."
Steve Sheetz is chairman of the board of Sheetz Inc., an Altoona-based, convenience-store chain. He and Nancy have significant and long-standing personal and professional ties to Altoona and the greater Blair County region. The couple said they have always been interested in finding new ways to strengthen their community, as well as to promote educational opportunities for young adults.
Steve has been involved in the campus’ entrepreneurship program for a number of years. He said the gift also fulfills his strong desire to work with Penn State Altoona in creating a more vibrant and thriving downtown Altoona.
Steve and Nancy said they care deeply about students and feel that the creation of an entrepreneurial center at the campus’ downtown location would provide an important educational opportunity that otherwise does not exist in this region. Steve, a successful entrepreneur, said he is excited about the possibility of engaging students through a mentoring program. In the past, he has shared his expertise with Penn State students as a guest speaker on the subjects of entrepreneurship and total customer focus.
“We feel it is a great opportunity to show our support for our community, Penn State Altoona, the entrepreneurial program and especially those students who dream of one day operating their own business,” he said.
A 1969 Penn State graduate, Steve Sheetz maintains a strong relationship with the University through service and philanthropy. He has served as a Penn State Trustee and the chairperson of several capital campaigns at Penn State Altoona. He has been a member of the campus’ advisory board since 1984. In 1994, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus, the highest recognition Penn State bestows on its graduates. Five years later he was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the most prestigious honor given by the Penn State Alumni Association.
Over the years, Steve and Nancy Sheetz have supported numerous philanthropic initiatives at Penn State Altoona. With Sheetz Inc., they created the Sheetz Family Endowed Scholarship and Sheetz Visiting Lecture Program. Their gifts have helped to fund construction of the Advanced Technology Center and Community Arts Center and benefited the intercollegiate athletics program, Penn State Altoona Future Fund, and William J. Rossman Renaissance Scholarship.
Sheetz Inc., has more than 350 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia, and employs more than 12,000 people. Over the years, the corporation has been recognized for its quality products and service, marketing innovation and operating efficiency.
Steve and Nancy Sheetz have two daughters, Megan and Nikki, and seven grandchildren.
To see photos from the gift announcement ceremony, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/2127 online.