New scholarship provides support for student leaders

October 21, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A new scholarship will provide support for students who make valuable contributions to the University through their service as an officer and/or committee chair of a student organization. The Desmond Leadership Scholarship was created by alumna Jaime Desmond as a way to give back to the University and to recognize the hard work of student leaders.

“I know how much time it takes to be a student leader, which makes it hard to have even a part-time job and balance class work,” said Desmond. “This scholarship will help provide financial support for a student leader.”

The Desmond Leadership Scholarship will be awarded to full-time undergraduate students who have made valuable contributions to the betterment of the University through service as an officer and/or committee chair of a Penn State student organization, and who exhibit integrity and a strong work ethic, as determined by the scholarship selection committee

Desmond, a 1998 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the College of the Liberal Arts, was actively involved as a student leader during her time at Penn State. She held many positions with student government, including the Association of Residence Hall Students (ARSH) and Undergraduate Student Government (USG), which has since merged with University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA). Ultimately, Desmond was president for USG. She was also actively involved with Homecoming and THON. In addition to balancing her positions in student government, Desmond held work study positions with Student Affairs and the Alumni Association.

Desmond is currently the chief operating officer for Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management. She is also the chairperson for the Ladenburg Institute of Women and Finance, which provides educational and networking opportunities for top female advisors.

She credits much of her practical experience to these out-of-classroom experiences, which required incredible time management, leadership and communications skills.

“I earned a great education at Penn State, and some of my best lessons learned were those outside the classroom through my experience as a student leader,” said Desmond. “Time management between activities and school, recognizing that people are diverse in their background and opinion and learning how to effectively communicate are all skills that can be applied to any future career.”

With this scholarship, Desmond hopes to provide the involvement opportunities she had to other students and to help remove potential financial hurdles.

“Student organizations play an important role in creating community and contribute to the vibrancy of our campus,” said Darcy Rameker, director for the Office of Student Activities, a unit of Student Affairs. “Serving in a leadership role involves a significant commitment and not all students can afford to do so.  Through the generosity of Jaime Desmond, students will be able to fully embrace their leadership roles with less financial burden.”

Members of the University and community who are interested in contributing to Student Affairs to support students at Penn State can contact Willie West, associate director of development for Student Affairs, at    

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 October 30, 2019