Alle-Kiski Society continues to take up the gauntlet

After taking up the gauntlet to increase its scholarship endowments by 50 percent, the Alle-Kiski Society of the Penn State Alumni Association (PSAA) responded by slapping its own face and raising the challenge.

Four years ago, Roger Williams, executive director of the PSAA, threw down the gauntlet at the feet of campus societies and alumni chapters throughout the Penn State system. The challenge was for each alumni group to add 50 percent to its current scholarship endowment by June 2014, the end of the seven-year For the Future campaign.

Last June, the society fulfilled its $26,000 pledge, increasing its scholarship from $51,000 to $77,000, a year ahead of schedule. At its February meeting, the society donated an additional $7,500 to the endowment, effectively upping the principal by 66 percent. Using the proceeds from the alumni golf tournament in August, the society, which is based at Penn State New Kensington, was able to give the New Kensington campus a total of $34,000 for student upperclassmen scholarships, ballooning the scholarship principal to $85,000.

“We are pleased to continue our support of the students at Penn State New Kensington,” said Vera Spina, vice president of the society. "With the increase in the endowment, we will help even more local students achieve academic success.”

The “Alle-Kiski Society Endowed Scholarship” was established in 1992 at Penn State New Kensington with an initial principal of $15,000. Six years later, it was fully endowed at $25,000. Endowed gifts are held by the University in perpetuity. The initial gift is invested and only a portion of the average annual investment return is spent. The remaining income is added to the principal as protection against inflation. The first campus recipient, Pat Neil, received a $500 scholarship. This year, the society awarded $3,600 in scholarships to three New Kensington campus students -- Joshua Swinehart of Spring Church; Jennifer Phillips of Vandergrift; and Caitlyn Cody of Leechburg.

Since 1998, the Alle-Kiski Society has awarded $36,000 to 45 students. In addition to fundraising, the Alle-Kiski Society engages in various campus projects throughout the year, interacting with former and current students by sponsoring social events and other networking activities.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the students of Penn State New Kensington and the individuals that give so much of themselves to our organization,“ said Spina, who attended the campus before earning a journalism degree at Penn State University Park.

During the "For the Future" campaign, a University-wide effort to raise $2 billion, the society has donated more than $45,000 to the campus. In addition to its scholarship largesse, the alumni organization, which comprises Penn State graduates from the New Kensington and University Park campuses, made a $10,000 gift to campus athletics for equipment for the cardiovascular fitness room. The society also sponsors a reception for more than 100 campus students and their families for their accomplishments at the annual Academic and Student Achievement Awards ceremony.

Alumni are encouraged to connect with fellow Penn Staters at the society’s monthly meetings held 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the campus or at an off-campus venue. The next meeting is set for March 17 at the Elks Club on Sixth Avenue in Tarentum, Pa.

For more about alumni activities, contact Bill Woodard, campus liaison, at 724-334-6049 or

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Last Updated March 05, 2014