Hufnagel endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts is 'for the kids'

May 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Bob and Sonia Hufnagel have made a substantial contribution to the Center for the Performing Arts (CPA) to support music education for local K-12 school students.

Hufnagel 2020

Robert and Sonia Hufnagel

IMAGE: Provided

The Robert and Sonia Hufnagel Endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts will fund jazz music education and promote CPA engagement for students with jazz performances, workshops, master classes and artists-in-residence.

The gift bolsters the financial and leadership support the Hufnagels have offered to the CPA and the College of Arts and Architecture for nearly a decade. The focus of the gift reflects Bob Hufnagel’s connection to jazz music and his and his wife’s desire to enrich the lives of young members of the community through education and interaction with diverse forms of art.

His affinity for engaging the younger community with music and other art forms doesn’t only flow through the CPA. He has been a philanthropist in the community for nearly 20 years and often supports youth initiatives by giving to organizations such as the Palmer Museum of Art, WPSU and the Centre County Youth Service Bureau.

“I’m in it for the kids,” Hufnagel said. “The idea that struck a chord with me about doing a jazz education endowment is to bring the kids in to appreciate other forms of music and to stimulate a future for jazz locally and in the United States.”

Hufnagel is chairman and CEO of State of the Art Inc., an electronic component design and manufacturing company based in State College. And although he isn’t a graduate of Penn State, Hufnagel said his connection to the University and the CPA has enriched his life and created a lifetime bond.

“The CPA gives us entertainment that we simply aren’t going to get anywhere else. Whether it’s national or local jazz acts, musicals, plays and sort of off-beat shows like acrobatics, the CPA is the place to be,” Hufnagel said. “It’s an amazing organization that we are proud to support through membership and any other way we can.”

As the couple was working with College of Arts and Architecture development staff on the endowment, Hufnagel said his wife turned to him and asked, “Can we afford to do this?”

“Can we afford not to?” Hufnagel said. “If one student is moved by the incredible art of jazz music, then it was all worth it.”

Center for the Performing Arts director George Trudeau said the Hufnagels’ vision for the endowment will further the CPA’s mission of community outreach.

“I am very grateful to Bob and Sonia for creating an endowment that will ensure that future generations of young people will have opportunities to experience and learn about the uniquely American music we know as jazz,” Trudeau said. “Their passionate and ongoing support for the Center for the Performing Arts is an inspiration to us all.”

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 May 22, 2020