Nationwide Insurance creates professorship in College of Ag Sciences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nationwide Insurance has given Penn State a $1 million gift to create and endow the Nationwide Insurance Professorship in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The gift was announced during an April 25 visit by Nationwide representatives to the University Park campus.

Faculty are at the core of everything Penn State does, and endowed professorships allow the best scholars to take their scholarship and teaching to the next level, according to Barbara Christ, interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "The Nationwide Insurance Professorship will build upon Penn State's nationally leading role in farm safety education and outreach by allowing a standout faculty member to further advance safety programs and expand research and outreach methods," she said.

"Dr. Dennis Murphy, distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering, has been appointed as the first holder of the Nationwide Insurance Professorship in the College of Agricultural Sciences. We are incredibly grateful for Nationwide Insurance's gift toward this crucial need in the college."

The Nationwide Insurance Professorship is the first endowed professorship of its kind in the college. Funds from the endowment will provide the professorship holder, the Nationwide Insurance Professor of Agricultural Safety and Health, with resources to expand research, teaching or outreach efforts and best safety practices.

Initiatives that will benefit include the Farm/Agriculture/Rural Management -- Hazard Analysis Tool, known as FARM-HAT, and the Safety in Agriculture for Youth, or SAY, program.

"We are proud to partner with Penn State to promote safety and health in the agricultural industry across the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and throughout the entire country," said Chad Jester, vice president of corporate citizenship at Nationwide Insurance. "Nationwide was built on the foundation of supporting rural farmers through the provision of affordable insurance rates.

"While we've grown as a company, we've never strayed far from our roots," he said. "We remain committed to supporting farmers and promoting innovative initiatives for the farming community. We recognize Penn State's leadership in these kinds of educational initiatives, and endowing a professorship at Penn State will increase our knowledge about agricultural safety issues and allow us to find new ways to support the importance of safety in the industry."

The University has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Nationwide and its partners over the years. The company employs more than 200 Penn State alumni.

The Nationwide Insurance Professorship will help the College of Agricultural Sciences meet the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This effort 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.

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Last Updated May 07, 2014