Class of 2016 supports fellow students with enduring gift to CAPS

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's class of 2016 has chosen to start their legacy by establishing an endowment to support Penn State's Center for Counseling and Psychological Services — otherwise known as CAPS.

The gift was revealed by the 2016 Class Gift Committee during a campaign event held today (Oct. 14) on the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus.

"With this gift, the class of 2016 is able to provide a permanent, annual source of funding for CAPS," said senior Ramon Guzman Jr., executive director for the 2016 class gift campaign. "The selection of a non-physical gift by the class of 2016 is not only reminiscent of some of the early class gifts, this gift will also ensure that future students take part in a better Penn State, because of the generosity and thoughtfulness of our class."

Nicholas Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost, accepted the gift on behalf of the University.

"CAPS provides vital services every day by helping students manage a range of personal and mental health challenges," Jones said. "College is an exciting time for many students, but the challenges of college life and young adulthood can be stressful. The need for additional funding is growing as more students recognize the essential support that CAPS is able to provide to them.

"Your class gift demonstrates your genuine care for and concerns about future students and their health. It is a thoughtful, meaningful and impactful gesture," he added.

As specialists in working with undergraduate and graduate students, CAPS staff members work with thousands of Penn State students each year in group therapy, individual counseling, crisis intervention and psychiatric services. They also provide prevention, outreach and consultation services for the University community. Common individual concerns include anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs.

The class of 2016 is in a unique position to directly affect the outcome of their giving — the more that is raised, the larger the ultimate benefit to CAPS and those they serve, said Geoff Hallett, class gift advisor and assistant director in Annual Giving.

"Here's how an endowment works," said Hallett. "The principal — in this case, the total amount that is ultimately raised by the class of 2016 for the gift — is invested long-term. The interest from the investment is then made available annually, with the initial investment continuing to gain interest. The amount of the annual funding to CAPS is determined by the amount of the initial investment, so if more funding is added to the initial investment, then the annual amount available would increase.

"In this way, CAPS will receive an annual payment that will continue in perpetuity," he noted. "And if additional donors wish to add to the principal, they can do so at any time. It really is a great opportunity for the class of 2016 to leave a legacy that will affect Penn State forever."

The endowment to CAPS was chosen by seniors from a ballot of three proposals, including a mosaic of University traditions and a mural representing diversity at Penn State. More than 200 proposals were submitted for the class gift from the entire University community.

Members of the Class Gift Campaign will be soliciting pledges through events, emails and phone calls to students graduating in May, August or December 2016. Seniors also can make a gift at www.ClassGift.psu.edu online.

The 2016 Penn State Class Gift Committee poses for a photo with the Nittany Lion

From left, Alissa Janoski, Chris Durkin, the Nittany Lion, Haley Kerstetter, Ramon Guzman, Amelia Whiting, Lisa Vandetty and Meghan O'Hara, at the announcement of the 2016 class gift -- an endowment to support CAPS.

Image: Patrick Mansell

The 2016 Class Gift executive committee includes Ramon Guzman, executive director; Alissa Janoski, director of marketing; Lisa Vandetty, director of fundraising; Chris Durkin, director of events; Haley Kerstetter, director of logistics; Amelia Whiting, director of student outreach; Meghan O'Hara, associate director of student outreach; and Kelsey Mulac, associate director of student outreach.

Follow class gift information on Facebook or @PSUClassGift on Twitter and Instagram. For more information on class gifts, visit http://www.classgift.psu.edu. Questions can be directed to Ramon Guzman at director@psuclassgift.org or Geoff Hallett, class gift advisor, at gdh15@psu.edu or 814-865-0198.

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Last Updated April 19, 2017