Karen and Tony Quintos make $1 million commitment to support diversity programs

November 30, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Smeal College of Business graduate and Board of Visitors member Karen Hughes-Quintos and her husband, Tony, recently made a $1 million commitment to create the Hughes-Quintos Educational Equity Scholarship and the Hughes-Quintos Diversity Enhancement Program Fund in the Smeal College of Business.

A 1985 graduate of the college’s Business Logistics program (now supply chain and information systems), Quintos said that she is naturally curious about what higher education can do to prepare students to enter the workforce given all that is happening in the world today, including social unrest, racial differences, and unconscious biases.

“I want Penn State to be a destination that people choose because its approach to diversity and inclusion is unique and compelling,” she said.

Leveraging her connections at Dell, where she served as the chief customer officer until her retirement earlier this year, Quintos has been working with Smeal’s leadership to develop opportunities to prepare students to foster a welcoming and inclusive culture in the workplace. The Hughes-Quintos Diversity Enhancement Program Fund, funded with a $900,000 endowment, will support that effort.

“Karen has stepped forward to champion our efforts to create a more equitable future for all of our students. I am thankful for all she has done, and continues to do, to ensure that our students are prepared to be innovative leaders and agents for change,” said Dean Charles H. Whiteman. “Karen and Tony’s gift will help Smeal truly differentiate itself from other business schools, and I’m grateful for their support.”

Quintos said she found that Dell’s diversity training was pivotal during a challenging summer.

“I saw how important it was to have an open dialogue around difficult topics, like race,” she said. “It’s important for companies that we do not shy away from the reality and the perception around how people feel and that we create a safe haven for everyone. If we can bring that to Smeal students, I think that’s a game changer.”

Jamie Campbell, Smeal’s assistant dean for diversity enhancement programs, said the gift helps his team fulfill the department’s mission.

“Karen’s support affirms the work that we are doing every day,” he said. “It says ‘I believe in what you are doing.’ It allows us to take some of the financial pressure off our students and to create meaningful programs that support our culture of diversity and inclusivity at Smeal.”  

The $100,000 scholarship gift will receive a 1:1 match as part of the University’s recently concluded Educational Equity Matching Program, creating a $200,000 endowment.

The matching program, announced in June by Penn State President Eric J. Barron, offered matching dollars for new scholarships that would “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.

While donors may continue to create Educational Equity Scholarships, all available matching funds have been exhausted.

Scholarship support has long been a priority for Quintos and her husband.

“I cannot imagine a worse scenario than to have a very capable student, maybe someone who is the first in their family to attend college, who doesn’t have the resources to earn their degree,” she said. “Tony and I want to make sure these students have the resources they need to sustain their education.”

These two new funds are an expression of the legacy that Quintos wants to create at her alma mater, she said.

“I want to be remembered for helping Penn State on its journey to be counted among the distinguished universities that young adults choose because they know that with the training they receive and the culture they are immersed in, they’re going to graduate with a better appreciation for how to be fair and equitable leaders throughout their careers.”

These gifts 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 serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 15, 2021