Scholarship helps students transition to life at University Park

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Penn State students elect to shift from a Commonwealth campus to University Park in their junior year to complete their academic studies, the transition can be exciting, but also challenging.

“We understand that transitioning from another campus to University Park can open the door to many new and exciting opportunities for students, but we also recognize that during that time students appreciate support and guidance as they navigate their new environment,” said Kay Salvino, who graduated from Penn State in 1969, earning a bachelor’s degree in individual and family studies, predecessor to the current human development and family studies major in the College of Health and Human Development.

That’s why Kay and her husband, Ernie Salvino, have created a scholarship for College of Health and Human Development (HHD) students through the University’s new Open Doors Scholarship Matching Program. The Kay and Ernie Salvino Open Doors Scholarship will support the Student Transitional Experiences Program (STEP), which is designed to help students who transition from another campus to University Park and ensure they are able to maintain satisfactory academic progress and help them as they build a new social community.

The STEP program offers students a chance to take classes at University Park in the summer, getting a head start on his or her major and getting familiar with State College and campus. The program also helps students find on-campus employment, prepares them for the Fall Career Fair, and offers information on research, internship and study abroad opportunities. Students enrolled in at least one STEP course and a seminar also receive a $1,500 award sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

“By creating this scholarship, we are creating an opportunity for students to have a smoother transition to University Park and get more out of their total experience,” said Ernie Salvino, who graduated from Penn State in 1969, earning a bachelor’s degree in labor management relations in the College of the Liberal Arts.

The University's Open Doors Scholarship Matching Program is a featured giving opportunity of the University-wide fundraising campaign, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence." When donors make a gift of at least $30,000 for a need-based undergraduate scholarship, the University will provide a permanent 2:1 match, tripling the endowment principal and the funds available for eligible students in perpetuity. This opportunity is available through June 30, 2018, or until all matching funds have been expended.

This is the second scholarship the Salvinos have created for HHD students. The couple also created the Ernest F. and Kay Frantz Salvino Discovery Scholarship, which supports students majoring in health policy and administration. Additionally, they established the Kay and Ernie Salvino Volunteer of the Year Award for the Penn State Alumni Association and the Ida Galiffa Salvino Memorial Trustee Scholarship in the College of Nursing.

Kay Salvino is a member of the HHD Philanthropy Council, past president of the Penn State Alumni Association, and former member of the Penn State Board of Trustees. She is also a past president of the HHD Alumni Society Board.

Before leading the Penn State Alumni Association, Kay Salvino was a practice administrator for Heimer Eye Care Associates in State College, and before moving to State College she held numerous key administrative positions with Philadelphia-area health care facilities. Ernie Salvino is the president of Salvino Management Services. 

Gifts like the Kay and Ernie Salvino Open Doors Scholarship 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, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence" is focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the doors 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 or contact Kathleen Rider, director of development in the College of Health and Human Development, at 814-863-1064 or

Media Contacts: 
Last Updated October 06, 2017