Jenkins Endowment will support PEPP initiatives for at-risk students

University Park, Pa. -- The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP), a statewide collaborative effort aimed at helping youths who are at risk of not attending or completing post-secondary education, has received a $100,000 gift from Penn State alumni Jacquelyn and Thomas Jenkins.

The PEPP initiative, based in the University's College of Education, offers collaborative programming with school districts in McKeesport, Reading, and Philadelphia. The programming, targeted at low-income and under-represented minority students, offers a variety of early-intervention activities to motivate students academically and better prepare them for post-secondary education.

Income from the Tom and Jackie Jenkins Endowment will support a variety of PEPP activities, including tutoring, on-campus summer camps to experience college life, and defraying expenses for student book purchases.

"It has always been important to us to help students get an education and this program and Penn State are dear to our hearts," said Jackie Jenkins. "We are truly Penn State Proud!" The donors made plans to create the endowment prior to Tom Jenkins' death in September 2008.

"This endowment is another wonderful example of Tom and Jackie Jenkins' unswerving commitment to helping young people who aspire to a college education," said David Monk, dean of the College of Education. "Their generous gift continues a tradition of private support for PEPP that has included gifts from numerous other Penn State alumni and friends over the past 20 years. The real beneficiaries of this philanthropy are the hundreds of students whom PEPP has assisted."

Tom Jenkins completed his undergraduate work in education at Penn State in 1949 and also earned master's and doctoral degrees in education from the University. He had a distinguished career as an educational administrator in Harrisburg; Wilmington, Del.; and the Westchester County, N.Y., schools.

Jackie Jenkins noted that in every school where her husband was a high school principal or superintendant, he would hold annual meetings with the athletic coaches. Everyone was aware of Tom's affiliations with Penn State and they would always say, "We know Tom, we do it the Joe Paterno way!"

Jackie Jenkins earned a bachelor's degree from Penn State, a master's degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a fifth-year graduate degree from Fairfield University, all in elementary and kindergarten education. She is a retired kindergarten teacher.

The Jenkinses met while they were Penn State students. In their retirement, they maintained homes in Maine and Florida. They also were State College residents for a time and later frequently visited the community.

Visit to learn more about the Penn State Educational Partnership Program.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010