Penn State Alumni Fellows establish scholarships to support IST students in need

Undergraduate students with limited financial means in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) will soon benefit from scholarships donated by two prominent Penn State alumni. IST Advisory Board members and Penn State Alumni Fellows Mike Laphen and Tony Pensa and their wives have created the Mike and Rosemary Laphen Trustee Scholarship in the College of IST and Tony and Carol Pensa Trustee Scholarship in the College of IST, respectively. Each scholarship was created with a $100,000 gift from each couple.

“In general, student scholarships are vital for the College of IST,” said Dean David Hall. “Many of our students are first-generation college students coming from families with limited incomes. The new scholarships created by the Laphens and the Pensas represent significant gifts to the college that will greatly add to our ability to provide scholarship support to deserving students.” 

The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program maximizes the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. For Trustee Scholarships created through the end of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students on June 30, 2014, Penn State will provide an annual 10 percent match of the total pledge or gift. This level is an increase from the program’s original match of 5 percent, and it is available only for new endowments of $50,000 or more. The University match, which is approximately double the endowment’s annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, multiplying the support available for students with financial need. Starting in the spring 2014 semester, the Laphen Trustee Scholarship and the Pensa Trustee Scholarship will generate a total of approximately $29,000 annually for IST students in perpetuity.

Laphen, who was named an Alumni Fellow in 2010, is the retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of CSC, a leading provider of consulting, systems integration, and information technology services to industries and governments worldwide. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Penn State and a master of business administration degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, he and his wife, Rosemary, established the Laphen Family Trustee Scholarship in the College of IST. 

“The education I received at Penn State enabled me to pursue opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to me otherwise,” Laphen said. “Rosemary and I established the Trustee Scholarship because we strongly feel that every student should have the opportunity to complete his or her education regardless of financial circumstances.”

Pensa, who was recently named an Alumni Fellow, was head of the Aerospace Division at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before becoming assistant director. He was the assistant director of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and is now Assistant Director Emeritus. He joined the laboratory in November 1969 after receiving a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Penn State.

“In today’s uncertain economy, a college degree is more worthwhile than ever,” Pensa said. “Through this Trustee Scholarship, Carol and I hope that many IST students will gain a competitive advantage in their chosen fields.”

The Alumni Fellow Award is the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association. Since 1973, the Alumni Fellow Award has been given to select alumni who, as leaders in their professional fields, are nominated by an academic college and accept an invitation from the President of the University to return to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty, and administrators.

The Laphens’ and the Pensas’ gifts will help the College of IST reach its goals in For the Future, which  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.

Last Updated December 05, 2013