Zamrik boosts scholarship with $50,000 pledge

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Although retired engineering science and mechanics faculty member Sam Zamrik and wife Myrna established their scholarship back in 1992, the couple has decided to boost their endowment with a $50,000 gift pledge.

The couple's scholarship, the Sam Y. and Myrna R. Zamrik Scholarship in Engineering Science and Mechanics, is designed for full-time students enrolled in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

"Tuition is rising and getting to be expensive. Students need help," Zamrik said.

The professor emeritus of engineering mechanics said scholarship aid was instrumental in starting his own career.

Zamrik recalls a NASA scholarship and Ford Foundation scholarship that helped him toward his master's degree, as well as a teaching fellowship when he was working on his doctorate.

"If it wasn't for that help, I wouldn't be here," he said.

Zamrik received his master's from Penn State in 1961 and his doctoral degree in 1965, going on to serve on the engineering science and mechanics faculty for 38 years.

He said the couple's scholarship began very modestly. "We started with small amounts and contributed to it every year."

As he received letters of thanks from students describing their projects, Zamrik said he was impressed by their motivation and was in a fortunate enough position to make a significant addition to the couple's scholarship.

"Regardless of what academic college you came from, the University helped you graduate, so I believe you should give something back. Undergraduates need the most help."

During his career, Zamrik has authored more than 160 technical publications and presented at invited seminars and lectures around the world.

He was the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' (ASME) 126th president and an ASME life fellow and honorary member.

A University of Texas alumnus, Zamrik was inducted into the university's Mechanical Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008.

"Without that help, I could not achieve anything in my profession," he said. "I want to send a message to get others involved to support needy students, particularly women and underrepresented groups."

Though he retired in 1998, Zamrik returns to campus each summer to teach a course in advanced mechanical materials. He and Myrna split their time between State College and Phoenix, Ariz.

The couple's gift will help Penn State reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This initiative is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

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Last Updated June 11, 2013