Leading by example: Welch creates graduate scholarship in McCourtney Institute

March 23, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself,” Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote.

Susan Welch, professor and dean of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, is a longtime admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt and someone who epitomizes the “leadership by example” approach represented by that quotation from one of the most important American women of the 20th century. It should come as no surprise, then, that Welch decided to name a graduate fellowship she recently created after Roosevelt.

Throughout her tenure as dean, Welch has worked tirelessly on solidifying the college’s status as one of the premier public liberal arts institutions in the world. One particular area of emphasis in that quest has been graduate education, where the college continuously seeks to increase its availability of scholarships, fellowships, and other financial resources that will bring the leading applicants to liberal arts graduate programs to Penn State.

In a gesture befitting her style of leading by example — and one that allows the college to take another step toward becoming a “first-choice” institution among the nation’s top liberal arts graduate students — Welch recently made a $125,000 gift to create the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Graduate Scholarship in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.  As part of the "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence" campaign, her gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the University’s Graduate Scholarship Matching Program — thereby increasing the endowment to $250,000. The Graduate Scholarship Matching Program will continue until June 30, 2018, or until available matching funds have been expended.

“Susan’s gift to establish this graduate scholarship is a fitting encapsulation of her long and successful tenure as dean of the College of the Liberal Arts,” said Penn State Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rich Bundy. “This gift reflects her own academic interests; it reinforces her emphasis on the importance of graduate education in the liberal arts; and it demonstrates personal commitment and leadership that is truly aspirational. Penn State could not be more grateful for this gift, which represents yet another legacy of one of our most storied academic leaders.”

The endowment will support students who are enrolled or planning to enroll in one of the College of the Liberal Arts’ graduate programs and are actively involved with the college’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Established in 2014, the McCourtney Institute promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad. The institute pursues this mission independently and by supporting the work of the Center for Democratic Deliberation and the Center for American Political Responsiveness.

In addition to being dean of the college, Welch is one of the leading scholars of political science. Her research focuses on American politics, particularly urban, ethnic and women’s politics. Welch’s current research interests include U.S. women’s legislative representation and the political science of the Holocaust. She has authored more than 170 scholarly articles, seven monographs, and three textbooks, and she has been recognized as one of the most cited political scientists of her generation.

“I am so pleased that the University is offering a generous match for gifts supporting graduate education,” Welch said. “This provides a real lift to our efforts to provide funding to attract the top students to our graduate programs. I am delighted with the progress of our McCourtney Institute and wanted to direct my gift to help facilitate its work.”

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 doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

  • Susan Welch head shot

    In a gesture befitting her style of leading by example, College of the Liberal Arts Dean Susan Welch recently made a $125,000 gift to create the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Graduate Scholarship in the college's McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Her gift will be matched dollar for dollar by the University’s Graduate Scholarship Matching Program, thereby increasing the endowment to $250,000.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 23, 2018