Penn State Smeal’s Leaders Celebration highlights the impact of philanthropy

October 04, 2018

The Penn State Smeal College of Business held its annual Leaders Celebration in the Business Building Atrium on Sept. 27. The event connects Smeal alumni and friends with the students and faculty who benefit from philanthropic support.

Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, said that Smeal received more than 5,500 gifts and pledges, totaling more than $10.6 million dollars in the last fiscal year, and including nearly 30 Open Doors Scholarships intended to address the personal, financial, and academic challenges Penn State undergraduates face in completing their degrees.

“Philanthropy is helping us achieve some pretty ambitious goals because it allows us to do the things that make a difference at the margin,” he said.

Whiteman shared details of a new partnership with the Barron’s in Education Program from Dow Jones. The program gives Smeal students, faculty, and staff members access to Barron’s online content. This access is possible through a gift from wealth-advisory firm PagnatoKarp to underwrite the expense for the next two years.

“These types of gifts are important because they allow the college to explore new ways to deliver educational content but still leave us with financial resources to address other high-priority initiatives,” he said.

Whiteman also spoke about the importance of faculty support.

“The resources of private philanthropy help ensure that we can keep the best and brightest faculty here at Smeal, or that the new faculty who will shape the business practices of tomorrow will come to Penn State,” he said.

Faith Hatchard, a junior majoring in management with a focus in organizational leadership was the student speaker for the event. Hatchard spoke about the impact philanthropy has had on her college experience. She is a participant in the Sapphire Academic Leadership Program, a recipient of the Anthony Buzzelli Sapphire Scholarship, and is a part of the Presidential Leadership Academy—a program created by an endowment from Ed, 1959 business, and Helen Hintz that allows students to develop leadership fundamentals.

Last summer, Hatchard was a part of the Division of Development and Alumni Relation’s summer intern program. Citing her experience with the Parent Philanthropy and University Programs office, Hatchard said she was reminded to be thankful for the opportunities that philanthropy makes possible.

“The support that students at Penn State receive from alumni and the broader Penn State community is unparalleled, especially in Smeal, and I am so proud to be just a small part of that,” she said.

Michelle K. Houser, senior director of development and alumni relations, said the night serves several purposes.

“Leaders Celebration is our way of saying thank you to our donors for the many ways they give back to the college, whether that is through their volunteer efforts or their philanthropic dollars,” Houser said.

“Scholarships and other endowed support for faculty and programming is critically important to our success and it has been so rewarding to foster connections between Smeal students and faculty and the individuals whose philanthropy advances our mission.”

Gifts to Penn State 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 twenty-first-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

Last Updated October 24, 2018