Alumnus gift to support Penn State students from Juniata County

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jeffrey A. Conrad, of Boston, Massachusetts, has given $105,000 to create an endowed scholarship for students from Juniata County, Pennsylvania, who intend to major in the agricultural sciences or in business at Penn State.

The Conrad Trustee Matching Scholarship will support students with significant financial need. First preference will be given to students whose home address of record is in Juniata County and who are enrolled or planning to enroll in the College of Agricultural Sciences or the Smeal College of Business.

"We are honored when distinguished alumni like Mr. Conrad choose to support our students," said Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "It's a sign that they valued their experience here and want to give young people access to the many opportunities that studying agricultural topics can afford."

The decision to create an endowed scholarship at Penn State was inspired by the philanthropy of his mentors, Conrad noted.

"As a student who greatly benefited from similar scholarships during my time at Penn State and was blessed with great mentors and opportunities, I want to give back to Penn State students," he said. "The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program allows my contribution to benefit them even more."

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. Penn State currently is providing an annual 5 percent match for new endowments of $100,000 or more.

Conrad, a CFA charterholder, is the president and founder of AgIS Capital LLC, an employee-owned private equity firm located in Boston that invests in farmland and related operating companies. He graduated with honors from Penn State in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business management, and he earned a master's degree in agricultural economics with a concentration in finance from Cornell University in 1987.

Conrad was born in Juniata County, where he grew up on a farm, before attending Penn State. After graduate school, Conrad founded and guided the Hancock Agricultural Investment Group for more than 20 years, serving as president of the firm and overseeing all investment and ground-level management operations associated with its $1.5 billion global farmland portfolio.

In 2012, he founded Conrad Properties LLC, an investment firm focused on central Pennsylvania farmland, timberland and recreational properties. He created AgIS Capital in 2013.

Conrad has participated in several agriculture and natural resource-related organizations throughout his career. He has served as a board member for the Hancock Natural Resource Group, Silverado Premium Properties, the Advisory Council of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and California Olive Ranch. He also co-chaired the development of the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) Farmland Index.

Over the course of his career, Conrad has been recognized for his expertise in agricultural investing in several publications, including Barron's, the Financial Times, Institutional Investor, The New York Times, Pensions & Investments, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has been featured on the BBC, CNBC, TV Tokyo and Bloomberg News.

"Mr. Conrad’s career demonstrates the value of a strong business foundation, and his decision to provide scholarship support for students in either the Smeal College of Business or the College of Agricultural Sciences reflects his commitment to positively impact students in colleges that are most important to him,” said Charles Whiteman, dean of the Smeal College of Business. “This is a wonderful example of a collaborative effort between academic units to open our doors to students with limited means who aspire to earn a Penn State degree."

Penn State's alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

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Last Updated September 08, 2016