Scholarship fund started in memory of civil engineering undergraduate assistant

Tim Schley
June 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A scholarship fund has been started in honor of Heather Hamby, long-time undergraduate program assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State.

Hamby passed away on Dec. 21, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, but her memory will live on through the Heather Hamby Memorial Scholarship, a fund created to support civil engineering undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need. 

portrait of Heather Hamby

Heather Hamby, the long-time Undergraduate Program Assistant in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, passed away in 2019 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Gifts are invited for the Heather Hamby Memorial Scholarship fund.

IMAGE: Penn State College of Engineering

“Heather’s bright and cheerful personality, strong work ethic, nurturing approach and superior job knowledge will be greatly missed by the faculty, staff and, most importantly, students of our department,” said Patrick Fox, John A. and Harriette K. Shaw Professor of Civil Engineering and head of the department. “The Heather Hamby Memorial Scholarship will help change the lives of the students Heather cared about so deeply and provides a way for all of us to remember her into perpetuity.”

Gifts are invited for the scholarship fund. The Penn State student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has committed a lead gift of $25,000 and pledged another $12,500 to be matched dollar-for-dollar with gifts made from additional donors. A total of $50,000 is required to endow the fund.

“I asked the other officers, and we voted unanimously to help fund the memorial scholarship,” said Zachariah Abbas, former president of the chapter. “With it, we’re honoring a valuable member of the department and giving back to civil engineering students, which is exactly what ASCE aims to do.”

Hamby joined the department as a student intern in 1990 during her last year at South Hills Business School. She was a steadfast resource for nearly 30 years, aiding thousands of civil engineering students while serving on committees, organizing events, generating reports and traveling to Panama with the Penn State chapter of Engineers in Action: Bridge program. 

In recognition of her many contributions to the University, Hamby received the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Spirit Award in 2016 and the Penn State 25-year service award in 2017.

“At the end of almost every section in our ASCE president’s handbook, you’d find the phrase, ‘If you can’t figure it out, just contact Heather for help,’” Abbas said. “She knew the ins and outs of the department better than anyone. To ASCE, she felt like a motherly presence who had an answer to every question we could ask, and future chapters will truly be missing something without her.”

Those interested in contributing to the Heather Hamby Memorial Scholarship may visit or contact the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052. 

Gifts to the fund 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


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Last Updated June 24, 2020