Penn State raises goal and sights for 'Greater Penn State' campaign

November 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In recognition of the fundraising campaign’s record-breaking appeal among Penn State supporters, the University’s Board of Trustees has endorsed a one-year extension of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.” The effort, which began on July 1, 2016, is now slated to conclude on June 30, 2022, and its overall goal has been raised from $1.6 billion to $2.1 billion. 

“We are deeply grateful to the more than 435,000 alumni and friends who have given their generous and enthusiastic support to the campaign’s vision of Penn State as a leader in public higher education,” said President Eric J. Barron. “By extending the campaign and raising our goal, we are also extending our impact and raising our sights for the role that the University can play in the lives of our students and in the prosperity and security of the Commonwealth and the world.”

Over each of the three fiscal years since the campaign began, donors have committed more than $300 million in support to the University. In July, Penn State announced that it had raised nearly $372.3 million in 2018-2019, a new record. The increase in the campaign’s goal reflects the pace that Penn State supporters have now established, according to Rick Sokolov, campaign chair. He said, “Through their gifts, our alumni, friends, and corporate partners have communicated their belief that the University can and must aim even higher for our institution and our students. Penn State and Penn Staters always rise to a challenge, and we have set a $2.1 billion goal to challenge the entire University community and set a new standard for education, research, and service among public universities.” 

“A Greater Penn State” is focused on three key imperatives tied closely to the University’s strategic plan: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World. The “Open Doors” imperative builds upon the land-grant institution’s tradition of access and opportunity to ensure a timely degree and a full Penn State experience for students regardless of economic background, and it has already secured more than $347 million in scholarships and related support. Its focus has been a suite of programs envisioned by Barron that shorten the timeline to graduation and reduce educational debt for students facing academic, financial, and personal challenges.

The campaign has also raised nearly $170 million to “Create Transformative Experiences,” including new opportunities in the arts and humanities, global study and citizenship, and digital innovation. “A Greater Penn State” has surpassed its original “Impact the World” goal with almost $490 million in support for research, education, and outreach that target urgent issues such as water, food, and energy security and human health. That goal also includes support for Invent Penn State, an economic development initiative that has established 21 LaunchBoxes across the Commonwealth offering entrepreneurship education and other support for the creation of new businesses and jobs.

“This fundraising success is among the most powerful statements that our supporters could make about their hopes and expectations for our institution,” said O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations. “As we look to the future of the campaign and the University, we will be asking for the partnership of alumni and friends in furthering important, ambitious initiatives that will define what it means to be a Penn Stater for generations to come.”

Bundy highlighted several key projects that will be priorities in the next phase of the campaign. Philanthropy will drive the creation of a new University museum that will expand access to Penn State’s world-class art collections and spur economic development in Centre County. Planning is underway for a new state-of-the-art complex that will serve as a new home to the University’s highly ranked engineering programs. The campaign will also invite support for interdisciplinary efforts with potential for transformative impact in the field of human health, including initiatives linked to the Penn State Cancer Institute and the new Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse (CCSA).

The remaining years of “A Greater Penn State” will also lay the groundwork for new relationships between the University and its graduates. The Penn State 2025 initiative will encourage lifelong engagement from alumni through a range of services and opportunity, as well as through philanthropy. Barron said, “We can only become ‘A Greater Penn State’ if we seek out and value the contributions of every member of our vast community. By extending the campaign and raising its goal, we are inviting all Penn Staters to invest in the University’s ambitions and in the future that we share.”

Last Updated November 20, 2019