Brenchley endowment will support key programming for WPSU-FM

March 22, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Jean Brenchley, professor emeritus of microbiology and biotechnology at Penn State, has committed to establish the Dr. Jean E. Brenchley Endowment for WPSU-FM through an estate gift. Brenchley’s preference is for the funds to be used to ensure the continuation of “Morning Edition” and “Science Friday,” two programs produced by NPR, that she said are her longtime companions in daily life.

“This is the first time I have done big things in making donations and I feel rewarded in giving to others,” Brenchley said. “WPSU has been a mainstay for many years for me, and I am pleased to help continue the programs which have been so important to me for so many years.”

Brenchley said she appreciates the substance of both “Morning Edition” and “Science Friday.”

“'Morning Edition' has been a trusted part of my day and I want to keep it on the air. I have always appreciated how in-depth the reporting is,” Brenchley said. “'Science Friday' provides a very interesting and comprehensive study of a subject in science to the public.”

Brenchley’s career spanned more than four decades. Her achievements include groundbreaking research examining the diversity and survival of microorganisms in cold environments and the creation of the Biotechnology Institute at Penn State. She began working at the University in 1971 as an assistant professor of microbiology and retired in 2011 as a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, a senior faculty member and mentor. Throughout her career, she left Penn State for periods to work for Purdue University, North Carolina State University, the Genex Corporation, and the National Institutes of Health.

Brenchley has pursued many interests in retirement, including exercise, gardening and fly-fishing.

“I grew up working on our dairy farm in Canton, Pennsylvania. In my career, I always strived to do quality research and teaching —  all I knew was work,” Brenchley said. “On the stream, I learned to live in the now. During this time of my life, I have found such compassion and kindness in friends, family and others.”

“Morning Edition” airs from 5–9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and “Science Friday” broadcasts Fridays at 2 p.m. on WPSU-FM — central Pennsylvania’s NPR-affiliated public radio station. WPSU-FM is available at 90.1 (Kane/northern Pennsylvania), 91.5 (State College/central Pennsylvania), 92.1 (DuBois), 100.9 (Bradford), 102.5 (Huntingdon), 104.7 (Clearfield), and 106.7 (Altoona).

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 hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and affecting 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 March 22, 2019