With alumni support, Arboretum to offer new educational programs on horticulture

March 06, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A $200,000 gift from Penn State alumnus Mark Jay Tygel will enable The Arboretum at Penn State to launch new educational programs on plant sciences and related topics. The new programs, which will be designed for members of the public, especially children and youth, will become available as early as this summer.

“When I came to University Park as a sophomore, having grown up in Philadelphia and spent my freshman year at Penn State Abington, I had very little knowledge of, or appreciation for, nature,” said Tygel. “Penn State opened my eyes to the magic and beauty of horticulture, and through this gift I hope to extend this same learning opportunity to others, especially children.”

Tygel graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture. Today, he is the owner of the Rah Rah Company in State College, which sells fraternity and sorority merchandise and paraphernalia wholesale. A resident of State College, he enjoys visiting the Arboretum regularly.

The new programs will join the Arboretum’s existing array of educational opportunities, which reach nearly 100 school groups, educational professionals and child-related organizations every year, and which include:

  • efforts through the Avian Education Program to increase awareness and appreciation of birds and promote the conservation and creation of bird-friendly habitat;
  • activities designed to expose children to the beauty and diversity of Central Pennsylvania’s landscape, native plants and creatures through exploration of The Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden; and
  • lessons about the effects of air pollution on Pennsylvania’s plants through the Air Quality Learning and Demonstration Center.

“We are proud of the education and enrichment our programs provide the members of our campus and community, and this generous gift from Mark Tygel will enable us to expand these opportunities further,” said Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology and director of The Arboretum at Penn State. “We look forward to developing programs that will cultivate an appreciation for the beauty and utility of plants, both cultivated and wild, and that will otherwise contribute to a richer understanding of the natural world.”

The programs supported by the Mark Jay Tygel Endowment for Educational Programs will focus primarily on horticulture but may also extend to birds, forestry, landscaping and other subjects that can be taught and learned in the Arboretum.

To learn more about the Arboretum’s new educational programming as information becomes available, stay tuned to the events page of the Arboretum’s website. To make a contribution of your own to the Mark Jay Tygel Endowment for Education Programs, contact Patrick Williams, director of development for the Arboretum, at pjw117@psu.edu or 814-865-0441.

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 greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 06, 2019