Joel Myers named 2017 Renaissance Fund honoree

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As Penn State’s Renaissance Fund celebrates its 41st year of honoring outstanding community members and helping students in need, its board of directors has selected as its 2017 honoree Joel N. Myers, a three-time Penn State alumnus; State College resident; and the founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather Inc.

Myers earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in meteorology from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 1961, 1963 and 1971, respectively. He was a Penn State faculty member for nearly two decades, and by the time he stopped teaching, Myers had trained 17 percent of the country’s weather forecasters. An active and influential member of the Penn State Board of Trustees for 33 years, for which he was elected by the alumni 11 times, Myers continues to serve as a trustee emeritus. In 2016, he received the University’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, Myers was selected as the 2016 Homecoming grand marshal.

Myers is a scientist who significantly advanced the accuracy and the communication of weather forecasting and pioneered it into a successful weather business. He founded AccuWeather as a graduate student in 1962 and guided it to become the global leader in weather information and data analytics and a leading global digital media company. Headquartered in State College with offices all over the world, AccuWeather now reaches more than 1.5 billion people and serves thousands of businesses across the globe, including 245 of the Fortune 500 companies. Today, AccuWeather serves 1,950 media companies, including radio, television and newspapers.

“Joel Myers’ success and reputation as a globally renowned business leader, and his willingness to share the fruits of his labor with his alma mater and community, represent the very best of what it means to be a Penn Stater,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “The University is proud to count Joel Myers among our alumni, and we can choose no better way to celebrate our honoree than to support the scholarship that has been created in his name.”

With all his academic, scientific and professional achievements, Myers said he is most proud of his seven children and nine grandchildren. He will be honored at a dinner event on Nov. 29 surrounded by all of his children; his brothers, Barry and Evan, who are also executives at AccuWeather; and his life partner, Maria Mastrodicasa.

The Renaissance Fund has already begun accepting contributions to the Dr. Joel N. Myers Renaissance Scholarship.

Each year, the Renaissance Fund honors an individual or couple who, through a lifetime of service, has contributed greatly to the Penn State and State College communities. In its selection process, the fund’s board of directors seeks to recognize individuals who have deep roots in the Centre Region, close relationships with civic and University leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy. An endowed scholarship fund is created in the name of each honoree, and gifts to the fund can be made by any Penn State supporter or member of the public. Renaissance scholarships are directed to high-achieving students with great financial need. During the 2016-17 academic year, more than 540 undergraduates across the University received more than $816,000 in support from the Renaissance Fund scholarships created since the program began in 1969.

“Alongside the University, AccuWeather is a leading employer in State College and a key contributor to the economic strength of our region. The Renaissance Fund is delighted to honor Joel Myers, the man behind the AccuWeather brand and a proud Penn State alumnus,” said Mimi Barash Coppersmith, a 1954 Penn State alumna and chair of the Renaissance Fund selection committee. 

“Joel represents a shining example of a young man who overcame family adversity and helped to make life better for his family, his University and his community through sound leadership, commitment and philanthropy,” Coppersmith added.

Myers was named as one of the top 500 entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs. He is considered the nation’s most respected source on the business of meteorology and the application of science to operational forecasting, having been named “the most accurate man in weather” by The New York Times. He has published dozens of papers that have appeared in leading scientific journals, such as Scientific American and The Journal of Applied Meteorology. He frequently appears on national news programs, such as ABC Nightly News, and has been quoted in Time, Businessweek Inc., The Wall Street Journal and thousands of other publications. He is a regular participant in the famed invitation-only Yale CEO Summit and the Committee for Economic Development Conference.

Myers is a frequently sought-out expert in international business, digital media, and the rapid pace of technology and its impact on society and business. He speaks on a range of subjects, including a recent TEDx Talk, and he has been hailed for achievements in the U.S., China, Japan and in many other countries. He has been an invited lecturer at The New York Academy of Sciences and many scientific, leadership, business and charitable organizations.

Myers served as a faculty member in the College of Earth and Mineral sciences for nearly two decades, and has generously given back to the University due to his gratitude for a world-class education and many years of mentorship and support. His philanthropic gifts to the University have included a multimillion-dollar gift to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences for The Joel N. Myers Weather Center, a state-of-the-art teaching facility; gifts for scholarships in meteorology and in information sciences and technology; and weather-themed sculptures, such as the sundials at the Nittany Lion Inn and The Arboretum at Penn State and the frequently televised Nittany Lion weather vane atop Beaver Stadium.

Within the community, Myers recently founded the Dads’ Resource Center, which raises awareness to support single fathers regarding the importance of playing an active role in the lives of their children. He also supports the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, YMCA, Jewish Community Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and American Cancer Society.

“I am extremely grateful and pleased to earn this prestigious recognition, especially since its purpose it to raise funds for disadvantaged, hard-working and very bright Penn State students,” said Myers. “My personal history is deeply rooted with Penn State as a student, teacher, trustee, employer of Penn State graduates and philanthropist. I am thrilled that my achievements as an entrepreneur will, in turn, help to unlock the imaginations, deep learning and creativity of Penn State students. I have always been proud to be a Penn Stater, and I am highly honored to have been selected as the 2017 Renaissance Fund honoree, particularly given the esteemed leaders who have received this award before me.”

To learn more about making a gift to the Dr. Joel N. Myers Renaissance Scholarship, visit giveto.psu.edu/renaissance or contact Kathy Kurtz, associate director of annual giving, at klk13@psu.edu or 814-863-2052.

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Last Updated July 25, 2017