Hucks named 2008 Renaissance Fund Honorees

University Park, Pa. -- J. Lloyd Huck and Dorothy Foehr met during their first week as undergraduates at Penn State in 1940, a meeting that led to the forming of a partnership that has lasted 65 years -- and that has made a huge impact on both the State College and Penn State communities.

Because of that impact Lloyd and "Dottie" Huck have been named the University's 2008 Renaissance Fund Honorees, and will be recognized at the 32nd annual Renaissance Fund dinner, according to Charles W. Rohrbeck, president of the fund's board of directors.

Each year, the Renaissance Fund honors an individual or couple who, through a lifetime of service, has contributed greatly to the Penn State and State College communities. In its selection process, the fund's board of directors seeks to recognize individuals who have deep roots in the Centre region, close relationships with civic and University leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy.

“Lloyd and Dottie were easy and excellent choices to be the Renaissance honorees this year," said Rohrbeck. "Both are longtime supporters of Penn State through their service and philanthropy. And since they moved into our community they have been very active in many local organizations, such as the Mount Nittany Medical Center. They are an amazing couple."

This year's dinner will be held Thursday, Nov. 13, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus, with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

The annual dinner raises money in the honoree's name. Contributions are used to endow Renaissance Fund scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students with the greatest financial need. Since the fund's inception in 1969, nearly $8 million has been raised. During the 2007-08 academic year, 484 Renaissance scholars received $587,500 in scholarships.

Lloyd and Dottie Huck are members of Penn State's class of 1943. Dottie came to the Pennsylvania State College, as it was then known, from her hometown outside Philadelphia, and was pursuing a degree in nutrition through the accelerated program that the school offered during the war years. Lloyd, meanwhile, was there to earn a degree in organic chemistry, a dream he'd held since he was a kid growing up in Nutley, N.J.

The two of them got engaged in January 1943, after Lloyd enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and married while he was in the service. Their relationship survived a succession of moves as Lloyd was stationed all over the country to receive flight training. Luckily, the war ended before he saw any action: "I think the Japanese surrendered because they heard I was coming," he said with a chuckle.

Lloyd returned to Penn State, finished his degree, then started his career as a junior chemist at Hoffmann-LaRoche. In 1958, he was hired by Merck & Co. as director of marketing. Over the next 20 years, he rose through the ranks to become president and chief operating officer. He later served on the board of directors of Nova Pharmaceutical Corp. before retiring in 1991. Dottie, meanwhile, first worked as a dental assistant and then turned her attention to raising their children and becoming, as she described it, a "professional nonpaid volunteer."

When asked what has made their marriage so successful, Dottie explained, "We're both busy. We have separate interests and we spend time apart. That way, when we're together, we have lots of things to talk about." Despite their different hobbies, their ideals are in step with one another. "We share the same values," Lloyd said.

Those values include a commitment to lifelong learning. The Hucks decided to retire at The Village at Penn State because of what Lloyd calls "the stimulating environment" there. Both regularly audit classes at the University Park campus.

"We enjoy taking classes and mingling with the young people," Lloyd said. Dottie agreed: "We love it here."

Another value they share is a belief in the importance of community service. Dottie serves on committees for the College of Health and Human Development and is involved with the University Libraries. She also volunteers with Second Mile, Centre County PAWS and Mount Nittany Medical Center. Both she and Lloyd are members of the hospital's foundation board.

Lloyd is past president of the Penn State Alumni Association and an emeritus member and former chair of the Board of Trustees. He also mentors Penn State students interested in careers in the sciences.

Their mutual devotion to Penn State is another thing that the Hucks have in common. "It's important to us. We met here," said Dottie. "We had happy years at Penn State and we hope that our giving will make the educational experience a good one for future students so that they, in turn, will give back to the University."

While the Hucks had given generously to Penn State since 1953, their mindset changed after Lloyd met fellow Trustee Tom Hallowell, who told him, "After your family is taken care of, philanthropy can be a great pleasure." Those words stuck with Lloyd and inspired the Hucks to expand their commitments. Together, they have established six endowed faculty chairs, a graduate fellowship, a library acquisition fund, numerous scholarships and programs in biotechnology. In 2002 the University named the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State in honor of the couple's generosity.

For Renaissance Fund dinner information, or to make a contribution to the Renaissance Fund, contact Kathy Kurtz in the Office of Annual Giving at (814) 863-2052 or e-mail klk13@psu.edu.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010