Engineering alumnus makes $2.5 million commitment to facilities expansion

Ashley WennersHerron
August 20, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Civil engineering alumnus Andrew Kartalis and his wife, Katherine, have made a $2.5 million estate commitment to the College of Engineering’s planned facilities expansion. 

The funds, which include $1 million to be dispersed over the next five years, will support the construction and build-out of two new research and teaching spaces for engineering on West Campus, as well as a major renovation for historic Sackett Building. 

In February, Penn State announced Boston-based Payette as the project’s architect. A key piece of the buildings’ design focuses on how to foster more interactions between students in different majors. 

“The new space is going to provide numerous excellent opportunities for students from several disciplines to work together and collaborate,” Andrew Kartalis said. “When students from various engineering majors work together to solve a challenge, they begin to think differently. That’s invaluable.”

This is not the first generous gift the Kartalises have made to Penn State. In 2013, they committed $1.5 million to support American military veterans studying engineering through a program called VETS, as well as program and laboratory support for the Bernard M. Gordon Learning Factory. 

“By establishing scholarships, creating the VETS program, and naming the Andrew Kartalis Hands-On Learning Laboratory in the Learning Factory, Andrew and Katherine have opened doors of opportunity for our students and provided them with powerful educational experiences that contribute to our engineering graduates being highly sought after by employers across the country,” said Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “Their philanthropy represents the Penn State spirit at its finest, and we are honored that, after so many years, they continue to contribute to the University and the College of Engineering.”

After earning his degree in civil engineering from Penn State in 1954, Andrew Kartalis served in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps as a commissioned officer for 21 years. After his retirement, he became a developer and co-founded a hotel development and management company. Katherine Kartalis graduated from Youngstown State in 1959 with a degree in education and became a teacher. The couple has two daughters, Elena Caspar, who also attended Penn State, and Angelique Berry. 

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 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 August 20, 2019