Gift commitment honors lives of Bill and Judy Rossman

January 31, 2011

Penn State Altoona has received a gift commitment from Altoona residents Stephen G. and Nancy L. Sheetz to honor the lives of their longtime friends and fellow Penn State volunteers and supporters William J. and Judith D. Rossman. At the request of the donors, the University will recognize the commitment to Penn State Altoona’s entrepreneurial studies program with the naming of Rossman Park, the focal point of an area adjacent to the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence along 11th Avenue in downtown Altoona.

“It is entirely fitting that the Sheetz name is associated with a philanthropic initiative recognizing Bill and Judy Rossman’s special relationship with Penn State Altoona and our community,” said Chancellor Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. “The park will be a magnificent addition to our downtown, a source of pride for our entire Penn State Altoona community, and an enduring legacy of the friendship between two couples who have contributed substantially to the advancement of Penn State Altoona. On behalf of our students and our extended Penn State Altoona family, I wish to thank Steve and Nancy for this generous gift and wonderful tribute to Bill and Judy.”
Over the years, Bill and Judy Rossman have offered dedicated service to Penn State Altoona, and their philanthropic support has benefited many areas of the college. Bill Rossman served as chairperson of Penn State Altoona’s Steering Committee for the Grand Destiny campaign and the campus development council. As a member of Penn State Altoona’s Advisory Board, he delivered the fall commencement address at the college in December 2002. He also was a volunteer in the campaign to raise support for the Bryce Jordan Center at the University Park campus.
Bill Rossman was the honoree at the inaugural Penn State Altoona Renaissance Scholarship Fund Dinner in April 2005. Two months later, the University recognized him with the Honorary Alumni Award. Rossman semi-retired from M&T Bank in March 2002 as Regional President. For several years, he continued to serve M&T as a consultant/advisor. In the community, he has served on the boards of numerous professional, charitable and non-profit organizations.
Judy Rossman served on a committee that organized a gala in celebration of Penn State Altoona’s 60th anniversary in 1999. The Rossmans reside in Duncansville, Pa. Their son, Bill, an attorney in Haymarket, Va., and his wife, Joni, have two daughters, Alex and Kacie.
"Bill and Judy Rossman have been such an integral part of this community for a very long time,” said Steve Sheetz. “They have always loved bringing people together and creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable.”
Nancy Sheetz said, “We believe Rossman Park’s very pleasant and inviting setting reflects the endearing qualities that so many have found in Bill and Judy over the years.”
With a meticulous environmental design for multi-season use, Rossman Park will include tables, chairs, benches and bicycle racks, accommodating visitors who wish to enjoy the pleasant surroundings. The park will be distinguished by a variety of shade trees and native shrubs and flowers. As a community resource, the park also will be outfitted with wireless service, along with lighting and state-of-the-art security technology to help ensure public safety. Donald and Nancy Devorris, Penn State Altoona benefactors and friends of Steve and Nancy Sheetz and Bill and Judy Rossman, will provide a plaque for the site that will celebrate the lives of the Rossmans.
“The Rossman family is thrilled and honored to be a part of Penn State Altoona’s future in downtown Altoona,” said Judy Rossman. “Bill loves Penn State Altoona, the community and the people in it, and he worked hard to help them thrive and prosper.”
Rossman Park will complement the nearby Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, which was named to honor Steve and Nancy Sheetz for their $2.5 million gift announced in 2009 -- the largest gift in Penn State Altoona’s history -- to transform entrepreneurial studies at the campus.
Over the years, Steve and Nancy have supported numerous philanthropic initiatives that advanced the mission of teaching, research, and service at Penn State Altoona and throughout the University. In June 2010, the couple was honored as Penn State Philanthropists of the Year. The purpose of the award is to recognize donors who have demonstrated exceptional generosity in the promotion and support of the University.
Steve Sheetz is chairman of the board of Sheetz Inc., an Altoona-based, convenience-store chain with more than 12,000 employees and 385 locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. A 1969 Penn State graduate, Sheetz has served as a Penn State Trustee and the chairperson of several capital campaigns at Penn State Altoona. He has been a member of the campus’ advisory board since 1984. In 1994, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus, the highest recognition Penn State bestows on its graduates. Five years later he was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow, the most prestigious honor given by the Penn State Alumni Association.
Steve and Nancy Sheetz have two daughters, Megan and Nikki, and seven grandchildren.

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Last Updated February 01, 2011