Class of 1983 alumna gives back to help students, honor family tradition

January 21, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumna Marcia Bowen has created the Bowen Family Fund in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management as a way to honor three generations of Bowens who attended Penn State.

Her grandfather, Clark, graduated in 1928, and her father, Neil, graduated in 1957. Both studied dairy science and tended to their North Central Pennsylvania dairy farm. But when she decided to attend Penn State, she chose a different path and went on to earn her degree in recreation and parks in 1983.

Marcia Bowen

Marcia Bowen

IMAGE: Marcia Bowen

Bowen is a certified park and recreation professional who has worked for the City of Orlando in Orlando, Florida, since 1990. She served on the National Recreation and Park Association Education Committee and co-chaired the Local Host Committee for the 2020 national conference. As a member of the Florida Recreation and Park Association, she served on a variety of committees and was the Central Region director for the State of Florida from 2010 to 2013.

Bowen said she feels very passionate about her career and the value of community involvement. When it came time to give back, she knew she wanted to help current students who were exploring a similar path. She has committed a total of $12,500 in support, with $2,500 to be awarded to students over each of the next five years. It will help juniors and seniors majoring in recreation, park and tourism management who are completing the internship that is required for their major.

“Alumni who give back to their college are providing opportunities that students wouldn’t have otherwise. We are grateful to Marcia for the Bowen Family Fund. It will help make it possible for students to experience an internship that can lead to their dream job,” said Peter Newman, professor and head of the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management.   

While Bowen did not encounter significant financial stressors during her college years, she is well aware that financial challenges are a reality for many students today.  

“Students who are completing an internship often must plan for the added expense of travel, lodging, and professional attire. I hope this gift will allow the recipients to make the most of their internship without the financial worry,” she said.

Patty Kleban, associate teaching professor of recreation, park and tourism management and director of the department’s Student Success Center, oversees the internship program. She said that the support of alumni as mentors, internship supervisors, and financial gifts like the Bowen Family Fund, have been key to the success of the program.

“Internship as the capstone experience for the degree in recreation, park, and tourism management is an exciting yet stressful time for students and their families," said Kleban. "The Bowen Family Fund will assist students in making internship choices based on learning objectives and intended career paths rather than on financial decisions and constraints.”

Gifts like the Bowen Family Fund in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence" is focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the doors to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn more at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 30, 2020