Smeal’s Ghadar gives University’s largest #GivingTuesday gift

January 15, 2019

Fariborz Ghadar, professor of finance, William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Management, Policies and Planning, and director of the Center for Global Studies, has always been interested in helping U.S. students study abroad. When he learned that the Penn State Smeal College of Business was raising money for study abroad and global engagement scholarships on #GivingTuesday last fall, he saw an opportunity to make a difference.

Students who study abroad are exposed to currency, language, culture, and ethnic characteristics―experiences Ghadar said he believes are critical for students to become successful managers in the future.

Nearly 450 Smeal students studied abroad during the 2017-18 academic year, and of that group, less than 10 percent received scholarship support. For those who did receive a scholarship, the average award was roughly $3,100. Jeff Sharp, associate dean of international programs, said he knows how important scholarship support is.

“The most commonly cited reason our graduates give for not pursuing a semester abroad is simply a lack of funding to do so,” Sharp said. 

Ghadar’s $31,000 gift represents the University’s largest individual gift on #GivingTuesday 2018 (the average gift to Penn State on #GivingTuesday was closer to $100). With more than 40 campaigns across the University, Penn State received more than 6,500 gifts totaling more than $750,000 to benefit a variety of programs and initiatives. 

“When Dean (Charles H.) Whiteman mentioned the size of the average scholarship award for students who study in another country, I thought ‘I’d like to do this for 10 kids,’” Ghadar said.

Whiteman has long been a proponent of study abroad opportunities for students.“Study abroad experiences can enrich learning, cultivate understanding and tolerance, and expand student perspectives,” Whiteman said. “Throughout his tenure at Smeal, Fari (Ghadar) has been a proponent of study abroad and this gift is a terrific representation of his efforts to expand opportunities for our students.” 

As part of its mission as a land-grant institution, Penn State and Smeal place a high priority on helping disadvantaged students have an international experience.

“Given that we are in central Pennsylvania and given that a large percentage of our students are from in-state or surrounding states, I feel strongly that they should experience what is going on outside of this region,” Ghadar said. “That is my passion.”

This gift 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

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 27, 2019