Seniors: Voting for 2011 senior class gift begins Oct. 25

October 19, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- The 2011 Senior Class Gift Committee is proud to announce the top three proposals for the class gift.

From Monday, Oct. 25, through Friday, Oct. 29, seniors will have the opportunity to determine their class legacy by voting for one of these three options as their gift to the University:

-- The Lt. Michael P. Murphy/Penn State Veterans Plaza. The Class of 2011 would create a plaza that honors Lt. Michael P. Murphy -- a 1998 graduate of the University and the only Penn State alumnus ever to win the Medal of Honor -- and all other Penn State veterans. Lt. Murphy perished in Afghanistan in 2005 while leading a Navy Seal Team behind enemy lines and was the first American awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. In addition, the plaza would recognize alumni veterans for their service. Penn Staters have bravely served in the military dating back to the Civil War and the University now has the largest ROTC program of any non-military institution. The plaza also would serve to beautify a prominent campus location and provide a functional gathering space.

-- The “Old Willow” Tree and Class of 2011 Trustee Scholarship. The original Old Willow was planted along the Allen Street Mall in 1859 and stood for many years as one of the first symbols of Penn State. After the tree’s death in 1923, replanting of cuttings from the original continued until disease claimed the life of the last tree in 1976. The Class of 2011 would renew this great University icon, and in conjunction, endow a Trustee Scholarship, which would help put a Penn State education within reach of students who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Trustee Scholarships have a unique matching component that extends their reach: approximately five percent of what the class raises to create the scholarship endowment would be awarded annually for financial aid. That amount would be matched by the University for total yearly awards equal to 10 percent of the gift amount. For example, if the class raises $200,000, the University would award $20,000 in financial aid each year forever.

-- The Penn State Alma Mater Display. The Class of 2011 would establish a display that showcases the Penn State Alma Mater and its history. Composed in April 1901 by Fred Lewis Pattee, professor of American literature, the Alma Mater’s words embody Penn State pride. The display would be located prominently on campus and would feature the words in the design. This gift would allow students to strengthen their connection with the “college song,” appreciate the Alma Mater as a vital part of the University’s heritage, and serve as a visible representation of what it truly means to be a Penn Stater.

The final three proposals were chosen from over 60 submitted by Penn State students, faculty and staff.

Seniors can vote online at  Students can also vote in person on the ground floor of the HUB and at the downtown Student Book Store from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. daily. Voting ballots, pledge sheets and gift descriptions will be available at all voting locations and online.

Students graduating in May, August, or December 2011 are eligible to vote and donate to this year’s senior class gift.

The voting results will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 11:00 a.m. in the first floor lounge of the HUB. President Graham Spanier will be present to accept the 2011 class gift on behalf of the University. The Penn State community is invited to attend.

The 2011 Senior Class Gift Committee includes Benjamin Witt (overall chairperson), Ryan Hartnett (communications chairperson), Sharon Rose (marketing chairperson), Geoff Halberstadt (gift development chairperson), Vanessa Gruver (fundraising chairperson), Jackie Boyland (student relations chairperson), Michal Berns (campus outreach chairperson), and Robin Beltrain (events chairperson).

For more information on the Senior Class Gift, visit To follow up-to-the-minute Senior Class Gift action, visit or follow @PSUSeniors on Twitter. Questions can be directed to Jordan Ford, senior class gift adviser, at (814) 863-3935 or

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 25, 2010