Schuylers make historic $1M gift to Alumni Association’s Lion Ambassadors

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Alumni Association has received the largest gift in its 143-year history, from a Penn State alumnus and his family. Matthew and Anne Schuyler, of McLean, Va., have made a $1 million gift commitment to endow the Alumni Association’s Lion Ambassador program.

The Schuyler Family Lion Ambassador Program Endowment will generate approximately $50,000 per year to support operational expenses of the program into perpetuity.

“We are deeply grateful to Matt and Anne for endowing this signature student program,” said Kay Salvino, Class of 1969, president of the Penn State Alumni Association. “Their extraordinary gift will ensure that the program — and its exceptional student members — will continue to grow its tradition of excellent service to the Alumni Association and the University. Their gift is a vote of confidence, and we will work hard to maintain their trust and grow the relationship we have developed.”

A 1987 Penn State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and a former Lion Ambassador, Matt is currently chief human resources officer for Hilton Worldwide, a global hospitality corporation with more than 320,000 employees. Matt also holds an master of business administration degree from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Hilton Worldwide in 2009, Matt was chief human resources officer for Capital One, and held senior human resources positions at Cisco Systems and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In 2013, Matt was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the Alumni Association’s most prestigious award, recognizing outstanding professional achievement. In addition, he has served on the boards of Greater DC Cares and the Washington Humane Society. He currently serves on the national board of directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

Anne is a graduate of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and has a master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She was a student in Penn State's higher education doctoral program while working full time at the University. Symbolically, her 14 years of work at the University were focused in undergraduate admissions and university development — both of which lead directly to recruiting and supporting students.  

“Anne and I are thrilled to provide a means of permanent financial support for the Lion Ambassadors. We know the program provides a wide range of valued service to the Alumni Association and the entire University,” Matt said. “I was honored to be part of the program during its first decade, and my experience with the ambassador program has become an indelible part of who I am as a Penn State alumnus, an executive in a global business, a father and a person. The cornerstones of the Lion Ambassador program are a core set of values, behaviors and principles — and, of course, a deep love for Penn State. We are so proud and honored to help strengthen this great tradition, and we know the Lion Ambassador program will continue to shape the world for future generations of Penn State students.”

John Satira, recent Lion Ambassador president who graduated earlier this month with degrees in history and international politics, said, “The gift from Matt and Anne Schuyler is a game-changer for the Lion Ambassadors. Their generosity has electrified our organization and will motivate us to not only sustain and improve our current programs of service, but also to think creatively about new initiatives in the years ahead.

“We especially appreciate the interest Matt has taken in the Lion Ambassadors in recent years as a mentor, speaker, donor and motivator. He is the perfect example of what we all are striving to become.”

Founded in 1982, the Lion Ambassador program involves about 130 students each year — all of whom are selected through a rigorous, competitive process. Characterizing themselves as “ordinary students with extraordinary pride,” the Lion Ambassadors communicate Penn State’s history and personality to internal and external audiences; strengthen University traditions; and instill Penn State pride in current and future students, alumni and friends of the University.

Lion Ambassadors are especially noted for the campus tours they lead for prospective students and their families and other visitors, typically walking backward to face their audience while they explain the virtues and features that make Penn State Penn State.

Other Lion Ambassador programs include:

-- Be a Part from the Start, a pep rally for more than 7,000 entering freshmen on the University Park campus before classes start each fall;

-- S-Zone, the highly visible student section in Beaver Stadium;

-- Lantern Tours, an evening tour of campus featuring Lion Ambassadors in period costumes as they channel key historical figures;

-- Guard the Lion Shrine, a tradition of protecting the Nittany Lion Shrine during Homecoming from visitors who might try to deface it;

-- Campus Showcase, a new initiative that features a campus program or office that merits increased attention from students;

-- Founder’s Day, which celebrates Penn State’s history, coincident with the date of its founding on Feb. 22, 1855;

-- Old Main Open House, a program that features tours of this iconic building;

-- University-wide Senior Sendoff, an afternoon near the end of spring semester that celebrates the achievements of the graduating class and offers them a bit of fun, entertainment and information about life after Penn State.

The Schuylers’ gift will help the Alumni Association achieve the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn Students. This University-wide effort 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. 

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Last Updated September 30, 2014