Military Student Fund receives community, business support

March 28, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Military Student Fund received a boost Tuesday (March 28), thanks to an effort by the Downtown State College Improvement District (DID).

Members of the DID were on campus to present the University with a check for $8,500 to support the Military Student Fund, which provides scholarship awards and support to Penn State military-affiliated students with financial need. The donation capped an initiative that brought the DID together with the University’s 2016 Military Appreciation Week.

George Arnold, DID executive director, said 60 downtown businesses contributed to the effort. He said that when the University came to the DID about being part of the week, the DID board thought it would be great opportunity to partner with Penn State and the events going on. From that came Military Appreciation First Friday, with businesses donating a portion of sales to the Penn State Military Student Fund.

“We thought that would be the perfect piece to pick up and run with,” he said.

Penn State President Eric Barron said the gift comes at a time when the University is focused on diversity and inclusion, with the “All In at Penn State” initiative and its message of “Be who you are. Together.”

“This absolutely includes our veterans,” Barron said. “I see this check as a tangible sign of support for that commitment to our student veterans.”

Barron noted that the fund, established in 2014, has awarded nearly $36,000 in scholarships to 19 students. As a land-grant institution, Penn State’s relationship with the military goes back to 1882. The University also has one of the largest, oldest and most successful ROTC programs in the country, along with being a leading research university associated with the Department of Defense.

“We are proud of all those efforts and of Penn Staters who have served the county with honor and distinction in the military,” Barron said. “We are also proud of the strong town-gown relationship that allows us to celebrate our shared values, which is exactly what it is we’re doing today. We are not just neighbors, we are partners, and we’re doing all we can together to enhance the Centre Region through teaching, research and service.”

Col. Eugene McFeely, senior director for Veterans Affairs and Services at Penn State, said the fund provides a minimum of four scholarships a year. It provides support for military-students throughout the University including active service members, veterans, dependents and ROTC cadets, helping defray the costs of education.

He said examples of those receiving scholarships include ROTC cadets who are having trouble making ends meet and veterans who have used their GI Bill benefits before finishing their degrees.

“We did all this through the kindness of people such as those who make up the downtown businesses in the State College borough,” McFeely said. “We could not have done this alone.”

The Penn State Homecoming and Military Appreciation Game is scheduled to take place on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, when Penn State plays the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

  • President Barron at DID-Military Appreciation event

    Penn State President Eric Barron offered words of appreciation to the Downtown Improvement District and its member businesses who agreed to donate a portion of their 'November First Night' profits to the Penn State Military Student Fund. The event was held March 28 at the HUB-Robeson Center

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
  • Military Appreciation-DID First Night donation

    George Arnold, executive director of the Downtown State College Improvement District, speaking at an event March 28, 2017, to mark a contribution to the Penn State Military Student Fund.

    IMAGE: Patrick Mansell
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(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 29, 2017