First-of-its-kind scholarship will aid students with disabilities

May 21, 2012

Educational opportunities have been expanded for students with disabilities at Penn State Harrisburg. An anonymous Penn State Harrisburg graduate has joined with the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation to create the campus’ first scholarship for students with disabilities. The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Endowed Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Harrisburg will assist students with financial need and will mean greater access to higher education for undergraduates.

"Presently, 79 students use accommodations provided by the college's Office of Disability Services. The new scholarship, by providing another avenue of support, reinforces Penn State Harrisburg’s ongoing efforts to enhance opportunities and experiences for our diverse student population, including those with disabilities," said Chancellor Mukund Kulkarni.

The scholarship will benefit students like Doug Persing, who utilizes a sign language interpreter, provided through the office, to assist with communication. Persing grew up in Mansfield, Pa., sharing a love for Penn State with his family, many of whom have graduated from the University. Penn State Harrisburg enabled Persing to follow his dream to play basketball in college.

“This scholarship will be wonderful for [students with disabilities],” Persing said. “They deserve the opportunity. They experience a difficult life with many frustrations. I think the scholarship will inspire students and encourage them to work even harder . . . . ”

Another student, a junior criminal justice major with anxiety and depression, works and attends school, both full-time. Aspiring to work in a government intelligence agency, he is striving to learn Chinese and Arabic to increase his chances of standing out in a competitive job market. For this student, working full-time so he can afford college can be “a stressful burden,” especially added to other difficulties he faces every day.

Having seen the many challenges her son has encountered because of his disability, the student’s mother was pleased to hear about a scholarship that will assist students like him.

“This scholarship will help students who may not be able to receive financial assistance through any other means,” she said. “I am pleased to know that this gift will directly support students with disabilities.”

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. In this groundbreaking philanthropic model, Penn State matches 5 percent of the total principle or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created, effectively doubling funds available immediately for student awards. This University match, which is approximately equal to the endowment’s annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, doubling the support available for students with financial need. Currently awarded to students, the scholarship will be allocated again in the fall and annually thereafter

Based in Princeton, N.J., the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation assists students with disabilities in their quest for higher education at select colleges and universities.

“We at the Foundation are delighted that students will benefit from the proceeds of this fund for many years to come,” Thomas Wilfrid, executive director of the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, said.

This gift will help Penn State Harrisburg to reach the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

To learn more, contact the Alumni and Development Office at 717-948-6316.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 22, 2012