Holders' $1.2M donation funds educational resources, education scholarship

March 15, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — John and Barbara Holder, 1965 alumni of Penn State’s College of Education, have made a $1.2 million estate commitment to be shared equally between the University Libraries and the College of Education. Half of the funds will endow an educational resources collection, and the other half will support an undergraduate scholarship for education majors.

“John and Barbara’s generous, forward-thinking commitment to supporting student success in the classroom and with University Libraries resources will help future generations of students minimize their debt responsibilities,” Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, said. “Through their endowment, the Libraries can increase its impact in helping Penn State students mitigate the high cost of access to scholarly knowledge.”

“This is a wonderful gift that will enhance collaborative work with our colleagues in the University Libraries while simultaneously making it more possible for our students to realize their dreams of becoming highly effective educators,” David Monk, dean of the College of Education, said. “We’re deeply grateful for the Holders’ generosity and deep commitment to advancing multiple parts of the field of education.”

The Holders, both public educators retired from the Batavia City School District, long have held libraries in high regard and are appreciative of the role libraries play at Penn State and in the local community. The John and Barbara Holder Educational Resources Collections Endowment will help ensure that the Libraries can provide research-level materials for all subjects and departments, including textbooks. The endowment will impact students by decreasing course costs and promoting their academic success.

In a report titled “Covering the Cost” by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), a nationwide survey of nearly 5,000 students from 132 higher education institutions noted that from 2006 to 2016 the cost of textbooks increased by 73 percent, more than four times the rate of inflation. A related report in 2014 by the Student PIRGs, “Fixing the Broken Textbooks Market,” found that two-thirds of students skipped buying or renting some of their required textbooks because of their costs, even though nearly all of them — 94 percent — knew that not having the book would impact their grade in the course. 

The John and Barbara Holder Undergraduate Scholarship in Education will support students with income-based need by helping lower the financial barriers to a Penn State undergraduate degree in elementary or secondary education.

Penn State’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, titled “Our Commitment to Impact,” includes Enabling Access to Education as one of six foundations fundamental to the plan’s success. The plan notes, “Approximately two in three students receive need-based financial aid at Penn State, and generating philanthropic support for scholarships remains a core institutional priority.” The Holders’ commitment to supporting students' identified financial need can help them lower the cost of attendance and attainment of a Penn State degree toward a career in elementary or secondary education.

Penn State’s alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University’s land-grant 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 to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University’s colleges, campuses and academic support units — including the University Libraries — are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 15, 2017