Gift will create Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility

October 03, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Scott and Marcy Tarriff want Smeal College of Business graduates to leave Penn State cognizant of their responsibility to act ethically, socially and globally while using their education to improve society.

To enhance college-wide efforts to meet that objective, the couple has pledged $5 million to create the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Smeal College of Business. The announcement was made today (Oct. 3) in the Business Building Atrium.

Scott Tarriff, a 1981 Smeal College graduate with a degree in marketing, has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry. He founded Eagle Pharmaceuticals in 2007 and currently serves as chief executive officer. Marcy Tarriff also is a Penn State graduate, earning a degree in health policy and administration in 1981.

In an industry that often comes under scrutiny for what Scott Tarriff calls “bad actors on a path that we prefer not to follow,” he said he is proud of his company’s commitment to ethics and social responsibility.

“The Tarriffs have long recognized that success in business requires a commitment to ethical leadership and organizational responsibility, and they want to help instill those values in our future business leaders,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Their gift will enable Smeal to enhance and expand our current ethical framework for teaching, research and the service activities of the college. We’re very grateful for this generous gift to enhance this important area.”

Scott Tarriff said that the love he and his wife feel for Penn State was the primary motivation for the gift.

But the Tarriffs also said they believe that society has reached a crossroad where a passion to succeed has overtaken a desire to act responsibly — something they said they both find worrisome. They said they hope their gift will help students create a new set of skills and that, as a result, Smeal graduates go forth into the world ready to think more ethically, more globally, and more empathetically toward the people around them.

“What we really want is to see Smeal students embrace the concept and to act ethically and responsibly in their own lives. That’s how we start to slowly reshape society and have people thinking about doing good things in the world.”

— Scott Tarriff, founder and CEO of Eagle Pharmaceuticals and a 1981 Penn State alumnus

“Scott and Marcy are deeply committed to their belief that today’s college students must be prepared for the role that they will play, the role that businesses will play, and the role that their own leadership will play in shaping society and shaping the world,” said Charles H. Whiteman, John and Becky Surma Dean of the Smeal College.

The Tarriffs' gift is tied for the second-largest single gift in the history of the Smeal College.

They also created the Scott and Marsha Tarriff Trustee Scholarship in the college in 2005.

“Teaching our students about the responsibilities and opportunities of global citizenship is among the University’s most important priorities in our current fundraising campaign,” said Michelle Houser, senior director of development and alumni relations. “Smeal’s ability to educate and influence future generations of business leaders will be truly transformed with this gift.”

Since the introduction of the Smeal Honor Code in 2006, a purposeful inclusion of ethics and social responsibility has been considered a cornerstone of the Smeal experience. To prepare students to enter the workplace with the utmost standards of integrity, the college made an explicit strategic commitment to integrity and ethical behavior.

The Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility will enable Smeal to build out this commitment. With more than a dozen college-wide initiatives to support ethical decision making, the center will offer a permanent, centralized structure for Smeal’s efforts to support responsible business activity.

“The Tarriff Center will benefit the college by significantly broadening our scope of integrity efforts and raising our national prominence in the field,” said Michelle Darnell, director of honor and integrity and clinical associate professor of management and organization.

While the Tarriffs are proud of their role at the college, they will be the first to tell you that they are not interested in personal accolades.

“What we really want is to see Smeal students embrace the concept and to act ethically and responsibly in their own lives,” said Scott Tarriff. “That’s how we start to slowly reshape society and have people thinking about doing good things in the world.”

Marcy Tarriff added, “There is a way to be successful while being socially responsible. If Scott and I can play a small role in encouraging that, we’ll consider our lives a success.”

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

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 15, 2019