Estate gift to benefit Penn State World Campus students in Micronesia

December 15, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kate Rittner is a veteran of providing support to Penn State World Campus students, most recently with an estate gift that will be added to her current scholarship, the Kate Rittner Penn State World Campus Diversity Scholarship. It is designed to benefit Pacific Islander students, especially those residing in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

“The people of the FSM have colleges that offer two-year degrees, but do not have access to a world-class education from a world-class institution like Penn State, or to a four-year degree without going off-island,” said Rittner. “This scholarship will open new opportunities for those pursuing a four-year degree and offers teachers, nurses and other professionals the opportunity to further their education without ever leaving their home island.”

Rittner earned her bachelor of arts in English from the College of the Liberal Arts and her master of education from the College of Education, both at Penn State. She traveled the world during her career working for the University of Alaska, Trans World Airlines (TWA) and United Airlines. After earning her juris doctorate from DePaul University, she worked for law firms in Chicago and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and as an attorney for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and for the Federal government — serving in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations.

It was the time Rittner spent living on a remote island in the Pacific and working in the FSM that she said inspired this gift.

“The largest employer in the FSM is government. Employment is limited on most Pacific islands because there is not a lot of space to build. They do not have manufacturing as an industry and while there are hotels — in general, they do not have major resorts to attract tourism. However, if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can work anywhere in the world without leaving our hometown, or in this case, island,” Rittner said. “With that in mind, Penn State World Campus is a win-win for Pacific Islanders. Diversity of culture, diversity of thought, diversity of experience, and ways of approaching things are all important.

"By pursuing a degree through Penn State World Campus, students — including Micronesian students — will be looking through a different prism of life that can help lead to success," she added. "Interaction with students from other countries and cultures, who bring a unique perspective, will benefit everyone.”

Rittner has some advice for students.

“Study, be honest, work hard, don’t burn bridges, don’t play games, stick with it — never give up. Your opportunities can be unlimited. Get a broad education where all things are applicable and use it to better your country and your community through business, arts and culture — you are the hope going forward. “

Yuki Ngotel is a sophomore majoring in psychology in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State. She is earning her degree through Penn State World Campus and is one of the first recipients of the Kate Rittner Penn State World Campus Diversity Scholarship. She lives in the Republic of Palau.

“Being a busy mother and trying to earn a degree is quite challenging, but nothing is impossible. All you need is to set your standards and stick to them,” Ngotel said. “With the exorbitant cost of tuition, this scholarship will help me successfully reach my educational and career goals working in psychology. I would like to express my gratitude and thank Kate Rittner for her generosity, her confidence and willingness to help me achieve my goals.”

For more information about tuition, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, visit Penn State World Campus.

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

  • Yuki Ngotel

    Yuki Ngotel and her daughter, Cyma. Ngotel is pursuing a degree in psychology from the College of the Liberal Arts through Penn State World Campus.

    IMAGE: Yuki Ngotel

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 13, 2021