$1 million gift funds scholarships at Penn State Berks

A $1 million scholarship endowment to benefit Penn State Berks students has been made possible by a recent gift from the John E. Morgan Foundation. The gift will create The John E. Morgan Foundation Trustee Scholarship, which will help qualified students with financial need to attend Penn State Berks.

The Morgan Foundation made a $1 million gift to The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which then directed the funds to Penn State Berks. It was the largest single gift that the Berks campus received during Penn State’s seven-year fundraising effort, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, which ended June 30, 2014.

“The Morgan Foundation's generosity in creating a Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Berks will enable generations of students to earn a Penn State degree,” said Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk. “The Penn State Berks community is deeply grateful.”

Consideration for John E. Morgan Trustee Scholarships will be given to Penn State Berks undergraduates who have financial need, with first preference going to students who are graduates of high schools in Luzerne, Schuylkill, Lehigh and Carbon counties. Though the size and number of awards will vary with need, as many as 60 students could benefit during a given year once the endowment is fully funded.

“We are deeply committed to helping the communities in eastern Pennsylvania to thrive,” said Jim Zigmant, president of the Morgan Foundation. “Higher education is crucial in making that possible, and Penn State Berks offers a wealth of opportunities for the people of our region to better themselves through education. We are thrilled that our philanthropy will ultimately ease the financial burden for students at the Berks campus.”

John E. Morgan, who died in 2001 at age 89, earned prominence in the textile industry with his late-1950s invention of the waffle stitch, used in the manufacture of long underwear and blankets. He sold the J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills in 1984 and retired to a second career as a philanthropist, with Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics among the beneficiaries.

The Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation carries on his philanthropic work. In recent years, the foundation has made major gifts to Penn State Children’s Hospital Building Campaign and established Trustee Scholarship endowments at Penn State Schuylkill and Penn State Hazleton. This recent scholarship endowment is a partnership with The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, which was created to secure gifts and make grants to benefit Penn State.

The gift also helped Penn State Berks to exceed its $11 million goal in the For the Future campaign. The campus recently announced it had raised $12.3 million. The University previously announced it had exceeded its $2 billion goal by raising a total of $2.188 billion in this campaign, the most successful fundraising effort in Penn State’s history.

Last Updated August 22, 2014