Tracy and Ted McCourtney give $3 million to create liberal arts professorships

November 16, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A $3 million gift by long-time Penn State philanthropists Tracy and Ted McCourtney aims to create six to nine additional endowed professorships within the College of the Liberal Arts.

With their latest gift, the couple has created the Tracy and Ted McCourtney Endowed Professorship Matching Gift Program -- a vehicle which will allow donors to create endowed professorships in the college at a dollar threshold below what is typically required for individual donors to create them. More specifically, donors wishing to create an endowed professorship would contribute $500,000 and the matching gift program would provide the additional $500,000 needed to create the professorship.

“Once again, Tracy and Ted have provided a transcendent gift that will benefit our students and faculty for generations to come,” said Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “Few investments in higher education are as enduring and transformational as endowed professorships. We are eternally grateful to Tracy and Ted for recognizing this and for providing the resources that will enable us to create additional named professorships in the college.”

Tracy, a 1965 English graduate, assisted foster children and families in New York City as a social worker before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom to the couple’s four children. After serving his country in the U.S. Navy and graduating from Notre Dame and Harvard, Ted embarked on a distinguished career as a venture capitalist with Venrock and subsequently with his own company, Saw Mill Partners.

Previous gifts to Penn State by the couple have created several professorships and undergraduate and graduate scholarships in the College of the Liberal Arts; they also provided the lead gift that led to the creation of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. The McCourtneys are also major benefactors at Notre Dame, where Ted is a Trustee Emeritus and from where he received an honorary doctorate in engineering in 2010.

Tracy and Ted are members of the Elm Circle of the Mount Nittany Society, and the President’s Circle; they also serve as Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisers and Presidential Counselors.  Penn State has honored them with the Arthur Welsh Award for Outstanding Support of the Richards Civil War Era Center in 2008 and as Philanthropists of the Year in 2013.

Supporters like the McCourtneys are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's public mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of our faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. 

  • Tracy and Ted McCourtney

    A $3 million gift by long-time Penn State philanthropists Tracy and Ted McCourtney aims to create six to nine additional endowed professorships within the College of the Liberal Arts.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 17, 2016