Newman family gift supports entrepreneurship through Summer Founders Program

February 14, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When he was a Penn State student, Ryan Newman was tapped to give William and Joan Schreyer the official tour of Atherton Hall, after the former Merrill Lynch CEO and his wife endowed the Schreyer Honors College, resulting in the building's renovation.

“I was always so taken by the incredible success that Mr. Schreyer had in his business career, coupled with his humility and commitment to his Penn State roots,” Newman said. “My personal interactions with the Schreyers left an indelible impression on me, and it was reminiscent of the oft-quoted, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’”

Smeal College of Business and Schreyer Honors College alumnus Ryan Newman

Ryan Newman, a graduate of the Smeal College of Business and a Schreyer Scholar alumnus, will help aspiring entrepreneurs with a $125,000 gift to the Summer Founders Program.

IMAGE: Provided by Ryan Newman / Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images for Goldman Sachs

Newman, now a vice president at Goldman Sachs, and his wife, Meredith, are giving back and helping aspiring entrepreneurs through their creation of The Ryan L. and Meredith A. Newman Family Endowment in Support of the Summer Founders Program.

Proceeds from the $125,000 gift will be matched 1:1 by the University as part of the University’s campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence Campaign,” and the Economic Development Incentive Matching Program.

“I’ve always been really impressed with and excited by eager undergraduates who have the courage to go out and start a business,” Newman said.

A signature program of Invent Penn State, Summer Founders is a 13-week business accelerator that provides Penn State teams with $10,000 in funding plus the resources and mentorship they need to accelerate their business ideas over the summer. Nearly 40 startup teams applied for this year’s program, and five were selected, including a company creating a mobile blood testing application that reduces the need for individuals to travel to a lab for routine blood tests, and an on-demand tutoring service that connects students with vetted tutors who have taken the same class at the same university.

Newman, a 2001 graduate of the Smeal College of Business and the Schreyer Honors College, has previously established the Ryan L. and Meredith A. Newman Family Honors Scholarship in the Smeal College of Business and the Ryan L. and Meredith A. Newman Family Honors Scholarship in the Schreyer Honors College. He first learned of the Summer Founders Program during a visit with Penn State president Eric J. Barron and sees the value not only for the Penn State student community at-large, but for the society of Schreyer Scholars within the University, as well.

“Ultimately, what Schreyer provides is opportunities for students to roll up their sleeves and dig deep with their research and ideas,” he said. “If you’re an aspiring business person and you have a better solution to a business problem, or you’re a future scientist and you’ve got an idea on how to improve the lives of others by way of some commercial application, the Summer Founders Program affords you the opportunity to test out your classroom learning, with the comfort of a safety net that doesn’t normally exist in the pursuit of entrepreneurial ventures. In some ways, there’s no greater way to work on the concepts that you’ve learned in the classroom than by applying them to the creation of a business.”

The Newmans’ philanthropy and their achievements have inspired Scholars who have come to know them.

“Receiving a scholarship is very gratifying and humbling, and receiving a scholarship from a man whom I have heard speak about the power of goals, positivity, strength, and pursuing your dreams is an incredible honor,” said Schreyer Scholar Rachel Smiga, a finance and Spanish major who is this year’s recipient of the Ryan L. and Meredith A. Newman Family Honors Scholarship in the Smeal College of Business. “Ryan has served as an inspiration for my outlook on life, and he has served as a catalyst for creating and completing my goals. Ryan and Meredith's generosity to this university is truly admirable, and I extend thanks to the Newman family for their everlasting effect on Penn State.”

The Summer Founders Program is open to any Penn State undergraduate or graduate student with an entrepreneurial endeavor. Solo founders are eligible, but teams of two or three people are preferred. Every team must have at least one member that is a Penn State student in good standing in order to be eligible. Teams are expected to work full time on their startup, social good or nonprofit idea, attend weekly dinners, and regularly meet with advisers throughout the program.

For more information about the program, contact Lee Erickson at or visit

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

Last Updated September 04, 2020