New student leadership/service awards endowed, award applications now open

February 02, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Each year, the office of Student Activities, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, presents awards and scholarships to students who have been valuable contributors in the areas of leadership and service while at Penn State.

Applications and nominations for these awards are open through Feb. 25 and can be found on the Student Activities applications website.

“Developing leadership skills and becoming active citizens are essential components of a Penn State education,” said Darcy Rameker, director for Student Activities. “We are fortunate to have so many engaged students who are role models to others and committed to making a positive impact in their communities.” 

Many of these awards are possible because of generous gifts from Penn State alumni and friends. Most recently, two families made gifts to create the Felsburg/Gohn Leadership Award and the Leopard Family Eclipse Award.

Felsburg/Gohn Leadership Award

Marjorie Gohn Felsburg and Robert Felsburg established the Felsburg/Gohn Leadership Award for full-time undergraduate students enrolled at University Park who demonstrate a financial need, achieve a minimum grade-point average, exhibit integrity and strong work ethic, and make a valuable contribution to the betterment of the University through services as officers and/or committee chairs of a student organization.

The Felsburgs are Penn State alumni, Marjorie from the College of Arts and Sciences and Robert from the College of Engineering. Robert Felsburg has been active with the College of Engineering as an Outstanding Alumnus, has served on the Civil Engineering Advisory Council for several years, and contributed to his father's scholarship fund, the Robert E. Felsburg Scholarship Fund.

The Felsburgs established this award to honor not only their experiences at Penn State, but also the experiences of their family.

“My father, Russel G. Gohn, a 1938 Penn State alumnus, worked three jobs on campus to put himself through school,” said Gohn Felsburg. “In spite of his busy work schedule, he was extremely active on campus as the president of the Town Independent Men, head of Lion's Paw, and member of Skull and Bones. My mother, Eleanor Acker Gohn, a 1939 Penn State alumna, was also active in student life as a Resident Assistant (RA), president of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and member of Mortar Board.”

Gohn Felsburg followed in her family’s tradition of engagement. She was orientation co-chairman; president of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Chimes and Cwens; member of the Faculty-Student Senate, Mortar Board, and Phi Beta Kappa; and the 1970 recipient of the Eric Walker Award.

“We had such positive experiences at Penn State, we wanted to recognize a student leader who exhibits our core values of integrity, hard work, and service,” said Gohn Felsburg.

Leopard Family Eclipse Award

Jennifer Grossman Leopard and Nathan Leopard have funded the Leopard Family Eclipse Award and endowed it through an additional estate commitment. The award recognizes Penn State students who have made valuable contributions in the areas of service and volunteerism to their campus and local communities. The recipients serve as officers and/or committee chairs in a student organization, provide ongoing service to their organization and the community, and possess a strong commitment to academic excellence and leadership skills.

The Leopards met each other in the HUB-Robeson Center over 13 years ago as student affairs professionals. Today, they continue to be passionate about student success, supporting students’ development, and recognizing students committed to the concepts of service and leadership.

“Nate is really passionate about his work in philanthropy at Penn State, and working with donors to make a difference,” said Grossman Leopard, assistant director for student organizations in Student Activities. “He asked me, ‘if we could do something in our own way that was special to us, what do you think you’d want to?’ I didn’t even think it was possible, but I’m glad we made a very intentional decision to direct our giving to something we believe in at Penn State — helping students and recognizing service and leadership.”

“Jen has developed some very special relationships with hundreds of students over more than a decade working in student life,” said Leopard, director of major gifts for the Smeal College of Business. “I know how committed she is to inspiring and supporting her students. This gift seemed like a nice, small way to help students, give to something we believe, and show our appreciation for what Penn State’s given us.”

Student Leadership and Service Awards

In total, Student Activities administers 12 student leadership and service awards. The award applications/nominations open in early February and the awards are presented at the Student Affairs Awards Ceremony in April. For more information on individual awards, visit the Office of Student Activities applications website at

  • Charles & Sharon Bell Scholarship for Citizenship and Leadership
  • Craig and Maxine Millar Award
  • Felsburg/Gohn Leadership Award
  • Leopard Family Eclipse Award
  • Jane Wood Reno Memorial Scholarship
  • Laural Award for Outstanding Services
  • Mary Lee Hobbs Steel Emerging Leader Award
  • Partisan Award
  • Rose Cologne Keystone Citizen Award
  • Smile for Sam Scholarship
  • Stan Latta Dedication Scholarship
  • John and Veda Black Student Leader Scholarship

“These awards recognize students who have made significant contributions to Penn State and their communities. They give us an opportunity to thank student leaders for being active citizens while on campus and for their continued service and leadership upon graduation,” said Rameker.   

Last Updated February 05, 2018