Master Farmers establish Trustee Matching Scholarship

University Park, Pa. -- Undergraduate students in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will benefit from a Trustee Matching Scholarship established with a $150,000 gift from the Pennsylvania Master Farmers Association.

An initial $50,000 commitment from the Master Farmers Association in 2006 tripled when one Master Farmer and his wife offered an additional $50,000 under the condition that the association raise a like amount within three years. Accepting the challenge, the Master Farmers raised private and individual donations to meet the deadline, resulting in a $150,000 endowment to the College of Agricultural Sciences.
 
The Pennsylvania Master Farmer program was established in 1927 to recognize farmers and farm families who have demonstrated ingenuity, outstanding farming abilities, successful business leadership and positive involvement in their local, state and national communities. Now encompassing the Mid-Atlantic region, the Master Farmer award is sponsored by American Agriculturist magazine, Penn State Cooperative Extension and the cooperative extension systems in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia.
 
In 1967, the Pennsylvania Master Farmers Association began offering scholarships in the College of Agricultural Sciences in honor of two former editors of Pennsylvania Farmer magazine, the forerunner of American Agriculturist. "Master Farmers are pledged to promote and support agriculture," says Jim Hoover, secretary and treasurer of the association. "In our opinion, the best way to do that is to try to help students who will be the future of agriculture in Pennsylvania."
 
The association recognizes the importance of agricultural research, education and extension and the support farmers receive from the state's land-grant university, noted Charles Brosius, chairman of the association's scholarship committee, Penn State trustee emeritus and former Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture. "For a variety of reasons, many of the Master Farmers did not have the opportunity to secure an advanced education. These scholarships will help to ease students' financial burden," he said.
 
The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program is designed to keep a Penn State education accessible to all qualified students, regardless of their financial means. The program has a unique matching component -- the University matches 5 percent of the principal of each gift annually and combines these funds with income from the endowment to effectively double the financial impact of the scholarship. Implemented in 2002 upon approval by Penn State's Board of Trustees, the program assisted approximately 4,600 students University-wide last year.
 
 
Last Updated March 19, 2009