Penn State alumni create scholarship to honor late family members

February 13, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumni David and JoEllen Sallack have made a gift that will honor the memories of David Sallack's late father, John Sallack, and older sister, Fay Sallack, while supporting undergraduates with financial need from Pennsylvania’s rural communities. Created with a gift of $500,000, the John A. and Fay Sallack Memorial Scholarship will benefit students from rural areas studying science, technology, engineering, math or architecture, fields that dovetail with John and Fay Sallack's academic and professional interests.

“We are incredibly proud to honor my family in this way,” said David Sallack. “Penn State created extraordinary opportunities for my father and sister, along with me, JoEllen, our daughter, Emily, and son, Nick, and we are thrilled to help provide those same experiences for others. Given our family roots in rural Pennsylvania, we wanted to direct our support to students who grew up in small towns and may otherwise have difficulty accessing a world-class education like the one Penn State offers.”

The John A. and Fay Sallack Memorial Scholarship identifies over 200 small, rural and economically disadvantaged school districts throughout Pennsylvania for eligible recipients. For students in these communities who may otherwise be unable to pursue higher education due to financial hardship, the John A. and Fay Sallack Memorial Scholarship will make a college education accessible while providing them with a full Penn State experience, a goal at the heart of the Open Doors imperative of the University’s current fundraising campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.”

“The Open Doors imperative is about ensuring that a Penn State degree remains financially accessible for students from every economic background,” said O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations. “Creating need-based scholarships is at the heart of this effort, and we are deeply grateful to the Sallacks for their generous support. Their gift will continue Penn State’s long land-grant tradition of opening doors to Pennsylvania students from rural communities.”

The Sallacks doubled the financial impact of their support with a 1:1 University match through the recently concluded First-Time Endowed Scholarship Donor Matching Program, an initiative of the “Greater Penn State” campaign.

This gift will deepen the Sallack family’s longstanding connection to Penn State. This connection began with David Sallack’s father, John A. Sallack, who enrolled at Penn State with the help of his employers and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1953. His education ultimately led him to attain international recognition for his expertise in the paper industry. David Sallack and his older sister Fay, along with their younger sister and brother, were inspired by their father’s love of Penn State to follow in his footsteps at the University. Fay Sallack graduated with a degree in architecture in 1974 and shared her talents as the executive director of the Berks County Pennsylvania Planning Commission before passing away at the age of 41.

David Sallack graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in community development and in 1976 with a master of public administration, and JoEllen Sallack also graduated in 1975 with a degree in individual and family studies. The Sallacks have both spent their careers in education.

The couple's daughter, Emily, and son, Nick, also attended Penn State, with Emily Sallack receiving a bachelor’s degree in international politics in 2004 and Nick Sallack receiving a bachelor’s degree in advertising in 2007. Emily Sallack recently established a scholarship with her husband and fellow Penn State graduate, Antonio Nieves. The Antonio Nieves and Emily Sallack Student Success Scholarship in Educational Equity supports first-generation students and undergraduates from military backgrounds.

The John A. and Fay Sallack Memorial Scholarship 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 hard-working 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 July 18, 2019