Grows make $2 million gift for economics undergraduate education

January 16, 2012

Penn State alumnus David Grow and his wife, Carolyn, have made a leadership gift with a commitment of $2 million from their estate to the Department of Economics in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. Their gift will endow the position of director of undergraduate studies, the first endowment of its kind at the University.

Several years ago, the couple made a $1 million estate gift to support undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Economics. Since then, the Grows have become even more engaged with the department through David Shapiro, current director of undergraduate studies and the honors program, and professor of economics, demography, and women’s studies. They have frequently met with Shapiro and several honors students during their campus visits. Recently, the Grows decided to make an additional estate gift of $1 million, which will be used together with the earlier gift in the future to create the David and Carolyn Grow Directorship of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics and to provide much needed resources for greater learning opportunities for students.

"The focus of our family’s philanthropy is on community, education and medicine,” said David Grow. “Over the years, we have been very impressed with Professor Shapiro and the talented students. Our decision to support the directorship and undergraduates is a good match for our philanthropic giving. In addition, the college has made significant progress in the national rankings of many of its programs, and we are delighted to support the academic leadership in this area."

Susan Welch, the Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, said, "Thanks to David and Carolyn’s generosity, their gift will greatly enrich the educational experience of so many of our students in the future. We’re very grateful for their vision in seeding new teaching initiatives and innovative learning opportunities through extended internships, study abroad and undergraduate research projects.”

David Grow is a native of Eldred, Pa., in northwest Pennsylvania and a 1958 graduate of Otto-Eldred High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and letters from Penn State in 1962 and a master's of business administration degree in 1966 from The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn State, he was a member and treasurer of Chi Phi fraternity and served in the Navy’s ROTC program. He also served in the U.S. Navy for two years as an officer. David then embarked on a distinguished 25-year career at Eastman Kodak, a pioneer in imaging and photographic equipment and materials, based in Rochester, N.Y. He initially directed financial analysis operations for the paper and chemical manufacturing divisions and, later, pricing analysis for microfilm products.

Carolyn Grow is a graduate of Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington) and holds a master's of business administration degree from the Simon School at the University of Rochester. She had an accomplished 26-year career in computer programming and systems at Xerox Corporation, a Fortune 500 global document management company. The projects under her direction included early development of software control system technology for digital imaging systems and the development of application software for the DocuTech family of electronic production publishing system products. She holds a patent in imaging technology.

The Grows also support programs in historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington. They are residents of Charlottesville, Va., and also of State College, Pa.

Professor David Shapiro has been honored by Penn State with its highest awards for teaching and for engagement with students. He has been praised by colleagues and former students for his inspiring teaching and mentoring of undergraduate students. One of his responsibilities is to work closely with the honors students in developing their talents to the fullest. Graduates have credited the honors program for helping them develop strong research and communication skills.

David and Carolyn Grow are leading supporters of the current University-wide fundraising effort, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. The campaign is 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.



  • Carolyn and David Grow

    Penn State alumnus David Grow and his wife, Carolyn.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated February 19, 2013