Endowment to support Dauphin County 4-H

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Lynn M. and Helen B. Henninger, of Elizabethville, have pledged an estate gift of $25,000 in support of Penn State Extension's Dauphin County 4-H program. They also will pledge $1,250 for the next five years to activate the endowment early.

Available funds from the Lynn M. and Helen B. Henninger 4-H Endowment for Dauphin County will be used to provide supplemental support for the 4-H program, which may include recognition for 4-H members. 4-H educational awards, if any, will be made annually in recognition of outstanding accomplishments achieved by the 4-H member while in elementary or secondary school. First preference for funds will be given to support individuals participating in the Gratz Fair.

Born and raised in Dauphin County, Lynn Henninger graduated from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in 1960 with a degree in agricultural education. After graduation and a year of teaching agriculture, he went on to run the family business, M.G. Henninger & Son, now Henninger Farms.

The Henninger family also participated in several other agricultural business ventures, including John Deere dealerships, the Upper Dauphin Grain Center and a feed mill, as well as raising cattle, poultry and hogs. Henninger Farms operated 10 farms comprising 1,100 acres in Dauphin County producing corn, soybeans and wheat. Lynn retired in 2007 and now is a partner in Hen House Storage Sheds.

Helen Henninger, who attended Penn State for a summer, graduated from Wagner College in New York in 1964 with a degree in education. She received her master's degree in education from Bucknell University in 1967 before becoming an elementary teacher, reading specialist and high school guidance counselor in the Upper Dauphin School District.

The Henningers have a son, Bryan, and a daughter, Tonya. Bryan over the last 20 years has taught English as a second language in Europe, Central America and Asia. Fluent in Spanish, Bryan currently is finishing a master's degree in education and curriculum and resides in Taiwan. Tonya is an internal medicine physician and works as a hospitalist at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington.

"We are so grateful for the success we have in our family, business and life," said Lynn Henninger. "And all of it is due to this wonderful community we're a part of. We wanted to give back to the community and to Penn State and are very glad that the College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State made it possible to for us to allocate our gift to benefit Dauphin County and the 4-H program."

The Henningers have seen the impact of 4-H on the lives of children in their county firsthand. As the youngest of four, Lynn had several siblings who participated in 4-H, while he was a longtime member of the local FFA. The couple's son, Bryan, also participated in the 4-H horse program.

They currently enjoy attending the Gratz Fair in Dauphin County each year to participate in the 4-H student animal sales. The Henningers are strongly connected to the local community and also support their church and local YMCA.

Heather Freeland, 4-H extension educator in Dauphin County, noted that the Henninger family has supported the Dauphin County 4-H youth program for numerous years. "This generous endowment will help to ensure the best possible opportunities for our 4-H youth participating in our county programs," she said.

"The Henningers are a wonderful example of the success we can build when we invest in our communities," said Dennis Calvin, director of Penn State Extension and associate dean in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "We are thankful for their gift and inspired by the way they actively participate in and support their county and our agricultural sector."

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 December 20, 2016