Penn State alumnus Andrew Moore creates Open Doors Scholarship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Penn State alumnus and longtime University benefactor recently made a $30,000 gift, establishing the Andrew M. Moore Open Doors Scholarship.

Moore, who received a non-degree certificate from Penn State in 1967 and a bachelor of science in horticulture in 1980, created the initial endowment under the “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” campaign with his wife, Diane.

In conjunction with the Open Doors Scholarship Program, the Moores will leverage a 2:1 University match — increasing the fund to $90,000.

“My primary goal is for struggling students to finish their education,” Andrew Moore said. “When Penn State started the new campaign, I was hoping to get matching funds. To get 2-for-1 was beyond my wildest dreams.”

The scholarship’s inspiration came from Ashley M.C., who often refers to the Moores as her Penn State mom and dad. They met in 2007 at the Outback Steakhouse, where Ashley was working part-time to put herself through college.

One night, after a year of dining out — and often having Ashley as a waitress — Moore realized something was wrong. It turned out Ashley had waited too long to apply for financial aid for the upcoming semester.

Moore, a certified tree surgeon in Centre County, was determined that Ashley finish her education, and so he initiated an anonymous scholarship on her behalf.

“The more I knew about her and the more I found out about her, the more I was impressed with her work ethic and her ability to try and accomplish things,” he said. “We were able to come up with enough money to help her graduate. One of the proudest days of my life was seeing her walk and get her diploma.”

Their bond, Moore said, is “closer than blood.”

“It honestly meant the world to me,” Ashley said. “Without Andy and Diane’s unwavering care and encouragement, I don’t know that I would have made it to graduation. Being a full-time student while also working full time is extremely difficult, but they never gave up on me and I never gave up on myself because of their faith. It was truly a gift. An unexpected and very appreciated gift.”

The Andrew M. Moore Open Doors Scholarship marks Moore's fourth philanthropic endeavor, with previous contributions benefiting students in memoriam of a family friend, and student-athletes. Additionally, Moore committed a new gift of over $250,000 as part of his estate planning in support of his established endowments.

Moore is an avid Penn State sports enthusiast, holding season tickets for women’s volleyball, softball and women’s basketball. He is also a fan of the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams. “I do what I can to give back — I just love the area here,” said Moore, a former outside adviser to the Penn State Horticulture Club. “I love the quality of the students and the students-athletes and all the things that they do.”

The Open Doors Scholarship Program benefits students enrolled in one of five programs designed to help them earn their degrees, reduce debt and excel at Penn State. The scholarship and programs address specific challenges along undergraduates’ academic journeys.

For example, the Open Doors initiative could extend to ninth grade students through RaiseMe, a micro-scholarship that encourages preparation by high school students for college-level studies. Participation in the Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program can help first-year students get off to a strong start. The initiative could also aid juniors transferring from another campus to University Park with a combination of scholarship support, mentoring and connection-building thanks to the Student Transitional Experiences Program (STEP).

“I want to see young people succeed and reach heights beyond their wildest dreams,” Moore said. “The only way they can do that is with a decent education.”

The Andrew M. Moore Open Doors Scholarship will help the University further its historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Last Updated February 25, 2018