New endowment to support Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services

June 30, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Dennis and Marcia Heitzmann have created the Dennis E. Heitzmann Legacy Fund for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Penn State to recognize the contributions of Dennis Heitzmann, who is retiring after 33 years with Penn State. The fund, which is a discretionary fund for the director of CAPS, will be used to enrich counseling and psychological programs and support new initiatives in continuation of the great work that took place under Heitzmann’s leadership.    

“We wanted to create this fund as a reminder of the work Dennis has done in his role as senior director of CAPS with the help of the University administration, staff, student body and benefactors and to keep that momentum going,” said Marcia Heitzmann. “Dennis’ career meant so much to him, and he will always remember those he collaborated with and will continue to have high hopes for the profession.”

CAPS, a unit of Student Affairs, is a busy counseling center that provides individual counseling, group therapy, crisis intervention and educational programming to thousands of students each year. Counselors facilitate around 25 therapy groups each semester with focuses on issues such as eating disorders, stress management, depression and international student support. In addition, counselors present outreach and educational programs to students, faculty and staff.

“I’d like to think that CAPS has contributed and will contribute to the lives of many students, building their strength, confidence and stability as human beings,” said Marcia Heitzmann.

As more students than ever are seeking support from counseling and psychological services, the Heitzmanns felt it was important to create this fund to allow the new leadership to continue to grow CAPS into the future.

“Penn State has been very good to us and our family, so it was an easy decision to offer something in return,” said Dennis Heitzmann. “While there are many worthy University programs deserving support, CAPS is the one we knew most intimately. Over the years I've witnessed life-altering changes in many, many students as a result of their efforts at CAPS. Directors come and go, but an endless chain of students will continue to seek life-nourishing services for decades to come. We couldn’t think of a better why to share what we’ve been given than the prospect of making a difference in someone's life.”

The Heitzmann’s are asking colleagues and friends of the University to contribute to the endowment in support of the many Penn State students that seek services from CAPS. To contribute to the endowment, visit or contact Kim Neely at   

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit

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Last Updated September 23, 2020