Penn State sets $2 billion goal for campaign to help students

April 23, 2010

University Park, Pa. – With more than $1 billion raised to date, Penn State has entered the public phase of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, with a goal that will make it the biggest fundraising effort in the University’s history. At a celebratory event held on April 23, President Graham Spanier announced that Penn State will aim to secure $2 billion by 2014 to ensure that the University can continue to offer an outstanding education to students from every economic background while benefiting the public through research and service.

"Penn State has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of individuals to sustain their families, advance their professions, and contribute to our country's strength," Spanier told more than 1,000 volunteers and donors gathered at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. "The For the Future campaign will ensure that we can continue to prepare our students for leadership in a world vastly different from any that previous generations have experienced."

The campaign's top priority, noted Spanier, is to increase scholarship support, and the evening included testimonials from students who benefit from philanthropy. For example, senior PJ Maierhofer, an advertising and public relations major, said, “The support that I have received from scholarships isn’t just financial. It means so much to know that someone cared enough to create those scholarships. Penn State really is a family, and a family helps each other out. That’s what scholarships are about -- helping the next generation of the Penn State family.”

Ensuring student access and opportunity through scholarship support is one of six key campaign objectives. The other priorities of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students are:

-- enhancing honors education and encouraging innovation across the curriculum;
-- enriching the experiences of students beyond the classroom and preparing them for global leadership;
-- building faculty strength and capacity through support for dedicated teachers and scholars at every stage of their careers;
-- fostering discovery and creativity through interdisciplinary research initiatives; and
-- sustaining the tradition of overall quality for which the University has become recognized around the world.

These objectives have inspired unprecedented levels of support from Penn State’s alumni and friends, even during difficult economic times, according to Peter Tombros, the campaign’s volunteer chair. Tombros, a Penn State alumnus and retired pharmaceutical executive, announced that the campaign already has secured $1,004,210,828 in gifts and pledges since it began its leadership gifts phase on Jan. 1, 2007. The campaign is scheduled to conclude June 30, 2014.

“Private giving has helped Penn State to rise to the top ranks of public institutions and take on the challenge of global leadership, and our graduates are making a difference in every field and profession, from business and medicine to education and the arts,” said Tombros. “Thanks to philanthropy, the University is now recognized as an innovator and a leader, and when our students introduce themselves as Penn Staters, they are recognized as potential leaders, too.”

The launch of For the Future marks Penn State's third capital campaign since The Campaign for Penn State began in 1984. That effort raised $352 million over six years to support a variety of academic initiatives that would propel the institution into the top echelon of the nation's public research universities. The Grand Destiny Campaign, from 1996 to 2003, raised $1.37 billion and emphasized gifts for endowment of scholarships, professorships, and programs, along with matching gifts for selected bricks-and-mortar projects.

“Penn State’s alumni and friends have recognized that the destiny of the University is in their hands,” said Spanier. “Through For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, our supporters will help us to affirm our role as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America.”

Visit to see photos of the April 23 campaign kickoff event. Watch a 12-and-a-half-minute video demonstrating the components of the campaign at /video/167281/2013/02/09/video-no-title.

For more about the campaign, visit online.

  • The Penn State Nittany Lion helped Peter Tombros, volunteer chair of the For the Future Campaign, center, and Penn State President Graham B. Spanier reveal the campaign's goal of $2 billion. For more photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Annemarie Mountz

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 22, 2015