Young alumnus endows $50,000 Trustee Scholarship at New Kensington

Ray Mastre, a 2004 Penn State New Kensington alumnus, recently established the $50,000 Raymond Mastre Professional Advancement Trustee Scholarship at the campus.

Mastre’s gift creates the 17th trustee matching scholarship for the campus. 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.

The impetus behind the endowment was Mastre’s sense of “paying it forward.” He was a first-generation student whose family was unable to fund his college education. While caddying during the summer at Oakmont Country Club, he applied for a scholarship from the Druckenmiller Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, which supports medical research, education, and poverty-fighting initiatives. He earned the first of four annual scholarships in fall 2000. Over the course of his bachelor’s degree studies, he was awarded nearly $40,000 in scholarship money from the foundation, which enabled him to graduate with no debt. A chance meeting with Stanley Druckenmiller, former chair and president of Duquesne Capital, liberated Mastre’s latent philanthropic attributes.

“Mr. Druckenmiller asked that I do what I can to help others in the same situation when the time is right,” said Mastre, a native of Plum Borough. “Since that conversation, I’ve had a long-term goal to establish a scholarship that will help build future leaders. It’s my hope that funds coming from this scholarship will impact students the same way the Druckenmiller Foundation impacted me.”

Undergraduates at the New Kensington campus are eligible for the Mastre Trustee Scholarship. First preference will be given to students who have completed a course, “Introduction to Computer Languages,” one of the core courses in the Information Sciences and Technology program. The class, mandatory for IST majors, is taken at the end of a student’s sophomore year.

“The IST 240 prerequisite is meant to give preference to upperclassmen,” Mastre said. “Many students receive financial aid in their first two years of college, but this tends to taper off in years three and four. It’s my hope that the scholarship will eventually provide full tuition for a junior or senior who will be able to focus learning instead of worrying about loans and debt.”

Mastre was a member of the third campus class to earn a bachelor’s degree in information sciences and technology. The IST program gives students a background in the core technical areas of networking, databases, programming, and system integration. Graduates are trained in key business areas, such as project management and organization theory.

“Penn State’s IST program continues to build leaders that are heavily recruited throughout the business world,” Mastre said. “Penn State New Kensington offers the same level of high quality education. As IST graduates mature in their careers, it’s my hope that they will return to the campus and assist in the development of the program, either with their time or financial resources.”

Mastre is a manager in the Advisory practice at PwC. Based in Manhattan, Mastre utilized PwC’s matching gift program to assist in establishing the endowment. PwC is a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 180,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. As part of the SAP Security/Governance Risk and Compliance group, Mastre is responsible for helping clients reduce the risk of fraud or financial misstatement. In addition to serving clients, he develops future talent for PwC through individual mentoring and recruiting on Penn State campuses.

“I love being able to share the lessons I learned with current students,” said Mastre, who worked at PwC in Zurich, Switzerland, for three years. “I encourage IST students to aspire to work for one of the world’s top professional services firms. PwC is a highly regarded brand in the market and a great place to work.”

Since matriculating at New Kensington, Mastre has been actively involved with the campus. After serving six years on the Advisory Board, he was elected president in 2013, becoming the board’s youngest president and the first campus graduate to fill the position. The Advisory Board works with administration and faculty in implementing the mission of the campus.

Mastre already is leveraging his advisory board status to grow the scholarship. Not content with a $50,000 endowment, he is offering to match any gifts by fellow advisory board members to his scholarship or another campus scholarship. Seventy-five percent of the board has responded positively to the offer. The original endowment could rise to $80,000 in a relatively short period.

“Many of our Advisory Board members already give generously of their time and money to help the campus, and I wanted to provide a motivation to members who may have been looking for an initiative to support,” Mastre said. “When a board member donates to the new endowment, I double their donation. If they donate to another Penn State New Kensington fund, I match their donation with one to the new endowment. The benefit to the students will be great.”

Buoyed by the success of the advisory board offer, Mastre is expanding the effort to include all Penn State alumni and friends. Donors of $3,000 or more can expect dinner with the endowment’s founder.

“I live in New York City, so I know how to pick good restaurants,” Mastre said with a smile. “I’m a Pittsburgh guy at heart, and I know some great places in the ‘Burgh. For $3,000, it'll be good.”

Fundraising is an innate trait for Mastre. As president of the Student Government Association in 2003, he spearheaded the drive to raise $10,000 for the Lion Shrine on campus. As a member of the Advisory Board, he was instrumental in garnering support for the Pollock Fountain that honors the legacy of former chancellor Larry Pollock. As board president, he is restructuring the committees to focus on creating student-centered initiatives, building the alumni revenue base and fostering relationships with local businesses.

Mastre’s gift supports the campus’ goals of 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.

As of March 1, the campus has received gifts and pledges totaling $2.95 million since the campaign began in July 2007. New Kensington has reached 98 percent of its goal.

For more information about the For the Future campaign at Penn State New Kensington, contact Donna Speer at 724-334-6057 or dms46@psu.edu.

To give online, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Giving/giveoptions.htm.

For more about the Penn State New Kensington Advisory Board, visit http://nk.psu.edu/Information/advboard.htm.

Contacts: 

Bill Woodard

Work Phone: 
724-334-6049
Home Phone: 
724-335-3502
Cell Phone: 
724-594-8421

Alumni and Public Relations Specialist

Last Updated March 20, 2014