Ag Alumni Society establishes scholarship for first-year students

Susan Bedsworth
January 31, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Continuing a tradition of support for and commitment to students, the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society at Penn State has created the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society First-Year Scholarship. The scholarship, established with a $50,000 gift, will be awarded to first or second semester undergraduate students in the college who show the promise of outstanding academic success.

People lining a stairwell

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society board members.

IMAGE: Penn State

In addition to the newly endowed scholarship for first-year students, the Ag Alumni Society previously endowed three other funds, including the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society Trustee Scholarship, the College of Agricultural Sciences Memorial Scholarship, and the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society Internship Award.

In pursuing the creation of the Ag Alumni Society’s first-year scholarship, the society’s board worked closely with the college’s administration to determine where best to focus their efforts.

“We wanted to offer a financial support opportunity to serve first-year students in our college since not many of these opportunities exist at this time,” said Lisa Kirby, president of the Ag Alumni Society. “We are fortunate to be in the position to offer assistance and are excited to be able to work with the college’s administration to identify and fill this need for our first-year students.”

As with the society’s other scholarships, the hope for the first-year scholarship is that it will have a positive impact, both financially and personally, on all the students who receive it.

“I hope the students know there is an entire organization rooting for them,” said Kirby. “School is not cheap, but I hope this scholarship goes to show that there are colleges and people within the University who want to serve the students. It’s a good message to send our students. Once they graduate, I hope they feel they want to give back to and be part of the society, to bring it full circle.”

Moving forward, the Ag Alumni Society hopes to continue supporting students and keeping alumni involved in the college. Whether it is through the creation of another scholarship, support for its Affiliated Program Groups, or something else entirely, the society doesn’t plan to quit.

“We want to keep on doing what we’re doing and helping the students as much as we can,” said Danadee Miller-Boyle, immediate past president of the society. “That’s part of the mission of our society. As long as we have the participation and the people willing to help out, regardless of whether they give their time, their money, or an item for the auction, we’re not going to stop.”

“The College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society’s commitment to student success must be commended,” said Alan Schaffranek, the college’s director of alumni relations. “When the society, under the direction of Danadee Miller-Boyle at the time, set out to create this scholarship, they decided that nothing would hold them back. I look forward to watching the society expand upon their great success with new and innovative opportunities for students.”

The Ag Alumni Society fundraises for its scholarships through the annual Ag Live Tailgate at the Snider Ag Arena that takes place at the last home football game each season. Members of the society arrange for sponsorships and donations. Alumni and friends are invited to attend and participate in both live and silent auctions.

“We have anywhere from 300 to 500 attendees at the Ag Live Tailgate each year,” said Miller-Boyle. “Between the sponsorships and auctions, we bring in $40,000 to $50,000 a year. In addition to the tailgate fundraiser, we also encourage gifts throughout the year in support of our scholarships.”

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences represents the foundation of Penn State and its land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University is pursuing "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World. Through teaching, research and Extension, and because of generous alumni and friends, the College of Agricultural Sciences is able to offer scholarships to one in four students, create life-shaping opportunities, and make a difference in the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about supporting the college, visit Information about the campaign is available at

Last Updated February 26, 2020