Penn State Harrisburg receives largest single gift ever

Harrisburg, Pa. — Penn State Harrisburg has received a historic philanthropic contribution. At $3 million, it is the largest single donation to the campus ever and will provide an unprecedented boost to aid students and develop programs.

Making the gift even more extraordinary is that its donor is anonymous. While not uncommon in philanthropy, it is a first at Penn State Harrisburg. And given the significant amount of the donation, its arrival was quite a surprise.

The development office at the campus received two checks, each for $1.5 million, along with correspondence from a representative communicating on behalf of the donor. 

"The checks and correspondence being dated April 1 did give us pause, but immediate follow up with the donor's representative put all worries to rest of any April Fool's Day tricks" said Jason Ketter, director of development. "We quickly realized just how transformational this gift would be to Penn State Harrisburg and specifically, our students."

"The philanthropist requested that half the total gift be used for scholarships, particularly for women and minority students," Ketter explained. "The other $1.5 million will be used for high-priority initiatives at the campus, all of which ultimately benefit students, as well. This aligns perfectly with the objectives of the University's ongoing campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, which has as its top priority assuring that a Penn State education remains affordable and accessible."

"This extraordinary gift to Penn State Harrisburg is significant on many levels, not the least of which is its size – the largest single gift ever to the campus," said Chancellor Madlyn L. Hanes.

Hanes said the gift comes at a time of tremendous growth for Penn State Harrisburg, brought by the high demand for a Penn State education in the capital region.  The gift also comes at a time when financial need among students has risen to unprecedented levels. Hanes said the gift "provides tremendous leveraging power," to build even greater support for campus priorities.

"This gift is a remarkable demonstration of philanthropic leadership for which we are extremely grateful," Hanes said. "We are pleased – indeed thrilled – that a donor has recognized in a very generous way, the impact Penn State Harrisburg has on students' lives and the premier role it plays in providing higher education opportunities in the region."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010