Berquists make $500,000 gift to educational equity scholarships at Penn State

August 25, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors member Carl Berquist, a 1974 graduate in accounting, and his wife, Bobbie, a 1973 graduate in education, recently made a $500,000 commitment to Penn State and the Smeal College of Business.

The gift will be split equally between two new scholarships: the Berquist Educational Equity Scholarship in the Smeal College of Business and the Berquist Family Bunton-Waller Scholarship at Penn State. The scholarships will each receive matching funds as part of the University’s new Educational Equity Matching Program.

The program, announced in June by President Eric J. Barron, will match up to $10 million for new scholarships created by Penn State alumni and friends that “enhance our ability to recruit and retain students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the student body,” according to guidelines for the program.

“This is a difficult moment in our nation’s history. As we look to move toward a more equitable and just future for everyone, it is important to recognize individuals, like Carl and Bobbie, who are willing to back up their convictions with concrete actions,” said Dean Charles H. Whiteman. “Their gift to Penn State will help move us closer to our vision for a more diverse and inclusive University, and I am grateful for their support.”

The Berquists’ gift will take advantage of two separate matching gift opportunities as part of the Educational Equity Matching Program. The first, which will endow the Berquist Educational Equity Scholarship in the Smeal College of Business, will receive a 1:1 match from University funds. The 1:1 match is available for scholarships that support the college, campus, or other Penn State unit with which alumni and friends feel the greatest personal affinity.

According to Jamie Campbell, assistant dean of diversity enhancement at Smeal, financial issues are one of the main challenges facing students that work with his office each year.

“From freshmen beginning their Penn State journey, to seniors who are close to the finish line, to change-of-location students who may be leaving home for the first time, the Berquists’ gift will help alleviate the stress and anxiety I see in students who contribute to the diversity of our community but are challenged to afford a Smeal education,” he said.

The Berquist Family Bunton-Waller Scholarship, like other new scholarships to be awarded by the Office of Educational Equity or other centrally directed programs such as scholarships that expand the University’s Bunton-Waller Program and Millennium Scholars Program, will receive a 2:1 match.

Named in honor of the University’s first male and female Black graduates, Mildred Settle Bunton and Calvin H. Waller, the program provides both financial and academic support, and a sense of community, to help students thrive throughout their undergraduate studies and beyond. Currently, the Smeal College supports five undergraduate students and several graduate students each year through the Bunton-Waller Program.

The Berquists previously endowed the Berquist Trustee Scholarship and the Miriam Janice Roth Open Doors Scholarship. They also contribute to the Berquist Family Real Estate Excellence Fund at the Smeal College of Business. Additionally, the couple provides financial support for students and programs in the School of Hospitality Management in the College of Health and Human Development. To date, the Berquists have committed nearly $1.5 million to Penn State as part of the University’s current campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.”

“I’m reminded of an expression that’s been attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that says ‘a budget is a moral document.’ At its heart, it means that where you put your money says an awful lot about the things that you value,” Campbell said. “I’m humbled by the Berquists’ gift. I appreciate that they value a diverse and inclusive student body. And I look forward to celebrating the impact their gift will make in the years to come.”

The Educational Equity Matching Program offers alumni and friends the opportunity to partner with the University in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Penn State. Through June 30, 2022, or until the $10 million pool of matching support is expended, donors can multiply the impact of new scholarships for students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the Penn State community. This support will help to fulfill Penn State’s historic land-grant mission — to reach all citizens of the Commonwealth through teaching, research, and service — and drive transformation across the institution and the larger world. More information about the Educational Equity Matching Program can be found online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 15, 2021