EMS academic and alumni leaders create Open Doors Scholarships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Lee and Michelle Kump are both experienced educators — Lee as the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and professor of geosciences at Penn State, and Michelle, a 2001 Penn State alumna, as a reading specialist in the State College Area School District. As a result, they both have worked with many students who have financial need.

The Kumps have always felt compelled to help these students, so when they learned about the RaiseMe program, which intersects with the University’s Open Doors Scholarship Program, they saw the perfect opportunity to make an impact. They have since done just that with a $30,000 commitment ­­to create an Open Doors Scholarship with a preference for students in RaiseMe.

The Open Doors Scholarship Program offers a 2:1 University match for donors who make a minimum $30,000 pledge, payable over five years, to endow a scholarship for students enrolled in one or more of the University’s five Open Doors programs, which include RaiseMe. The Kumps’ gift will leverage the University match and triple the impact of their $30,000 gift, creating a $90,000 endowment.

“The Lee and Michelle Kump Open Doors Scholarship in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences will truly ‘open doors’ by helping provide greater access to a Penn State education,” said Lee Kump.

Jim and Coral Bryja have been longtime supporters of students and faculty in EMS’s mining engineering program. Due to the attractiveness of the 2:1 match, they also have made a pledge to create the Bryja/Verner Open Doors Scholarship, which will be available to students college-wide who are enrolled in any of the University’s five Open Doors programs.

“The mining engineering program allowed me to secure summer internships that offset some of my college expenses," said Jim Bryja, who is the chair of the EMS Development Council and a 1979 Penn State alumnus. "However, I relied heavily on scholarships and the generosity of my parents to complete my degree. Coral and I believe we are helping students avoid huge debt loads and earn a Penn State degree in a timely manner.”

Knowing that only 50 percent of Penn State students from the poorest households graduate within six years, David and Mari Jo Schlosser, who graduated from Penn State in 1987 and 1988, respectively, were already committed to assisting deserving students faced with hardships.

“When the University announced the Open Doors Scholarship Program, we were motivated to create an additional endowment knowing how impactful our gift would be with the University match,” said David Schlosser, who also serves on the EMS Development Council.

The Bryjas and the Schlossers are active volunteers in the college and look forward to meeting their Open Doors Scholarship recipients when they visit campus. In addition to these three examples, several other EMS alumni and friends have generously contributed to the Open Doors Scholarship Program.

Each of these gifts will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st century public university: keeping 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 about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Anyone who is interested in creating an Opens Doors Scholarship in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences should contact Sue Powell, director of the college’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, at sjp1@psu.edu by June 22. The 2:1 University match ends June 30.

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Last Updated June 28, 2018