Gift to Penn State Extension to memorialize donors' niece

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Joan and John Baxter, of Linfield, Pennsylvania, have created an endowment, the Julie A. Haines Memorial Professional Development Scholarship for Penn State Extension, to memorialize their niece, Julie Haines. The fund will support professional development for nutrition education paraprofessionals, or those in a similar role, employed by Penn State Extension.

The Baxters and additional donors have contributed $50,000 in memory of Haines, who was a registered dietitian and an education, development and training specialist for Penn State Extension until her death in 2010.

Julie Haines was born Julie Louise Artley in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, in 1966 and attended Penns Valley Area High School. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in nutrition from Albright College in 1989 and a master's degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1991. She was a member of the Pleasant Gap United Methodist Church and loved music and the outdoors.

Haines passed away after a long but courageous battle with cancer on June 6, 2010. She is survived by husband Kent A. Haines, daughter Katherine and son Jonis. A full obituary is online via the Centre Daily Times.

"Julie devoted her life to family, church and community, as well as to her vocation," said John Baxter. "She believed that everyone should have the opportunity to improve him- or herself. She was a very compassionate person and even took the time to counsel other chemotherapy patients about nutritional aid during her treatments."

Joan Baxter is the twin sister of Haines' mother, Jan Artley. The family felt that Julie would have wanted to set up a fund to help paraprofessionals if she had the chance, so they started a small fund with the Pennsylvania Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Joan and Jan recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their joint wedding. Their children and grandchildren planned a surprise party for the couples, and in lieu of gifts, they asked friends and family to donate to the fund. The Baxters wanted to ensure that the gift would go on in perpetuity, so they decided to create an endowment with Penn State Extension to honor Haines' memory.

"Julie had a passion for nutrition and for training our staff. She shared a lot of herself in her trainings as a way to make people comfortable and help them relate the new nutrition knowledge and skills to their own lives," said Elise Gurgevich, state program coordinator of Penn State Extension Nutrition Links.

Nutrition paraprofessionals who work for Penn State Extension can apply to use the scholarship for coursework and professional development opportunities offered at Penn State or by other organizations or institutions.

"I am so appreciative of the generous gift from Julie's aunt and uncle," Gurgevich added. "Part of Julie will live on in all of the Nutrition Links nutrition-education advisers who were trained by her, had a relationship with her and will benefit from the scholarship that will carry on her name and her desire to help people to continually grow and increase their knowledge and skills."

Nutrition Links is offered by Penn State Extension within the College of Agricultural Sciences. The program offers free nutrition-education programs to participants eligible for public assistance to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve a healthful diet on a limited budget. Nutrition Links staff provide thousands of Pennsylvania's limited-resource citizens with education on topics such as nutrition, food safety, food preparation and food budgeting.

"This gift is especially significant to Penn State Extension because it shows the deep commitment our educators have to the people they serve," said Dennis Calvin, director of Penn State Extension and associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "Julie Haines' family and friends were obviously aware of that commitment, and we sincerely thank the Baxters and other donors for choosing to commemorate her life in a way that can help others."

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 November 18, 2016