McCleester Fund created to support workforce training

December 11, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- When Paul McCleester graduated from Penn State in 1951, he likely had no idea that his bachelor's degree in vocational and industrial education would be his ticket to more than a quarter-century of international service and travel, or that he would count the United Nations and the U.S. State Department among his employers.

Although he ranged far from University Park and his earlier home in Johnstown, he never forgot how well his Penn State education -- he also earned a master's degree from the University in 1957 -- prepared him for his career and for life.

Before his death in his adopted hometown of Warrensburg, Mo., last January at the age of 93, he created an estate plan that provided a $200,000 bequest to Penn State to support activities in the College of Education's Workforce Education and Development program, successor to the Vocational Industrial Education program. McCleester had worked as an educator and consultant in workforce training all his life.

His gift will endow the Paul R. and Ruth H. McCleester Fund for the Advancement of Workforce Education and Development, which the University has named in his and his late wife's memory.

Annual income from the McCleester Fund will be used to encourage the application of new methods and teaching aids, and the latest academic and industrial research, in traditional classroom settings and in workshops and on-the-job education and training, according to Edgar Farmer, head of the Department of Learning and Performance Systems, which includes the Workforce Education and Development program.

"The McCleester Fund will be used to enhance our recruitment efforts in Workforce Education and Development as well as the educational experiences that prospective career and technical education leaders will receive as part of their academic program," said Farmer. "Studies have shown that leadership is one of the most important factors that affect career and technical student achievement and the use of the funds in this area will be of great benefit to our students."

The Workforce Education and Development undergraduate program aims to prepare those already skilled in a trade or health area, or a graduate of a high school or career technical school, to become a teacher or administrator in career-technical education. The program also prepares graduates to assist industry with training needs or teach occupational home economics such as child care. Advanced-degree studies also are offered to prepare professional leaders in career-technical education.   

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009