Leach family's love of books spurs Penn State University Press endowment

December 14, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —  To honor his family’s fondness for books and reading, State College resident Art Leach was inspired to establish the Leach Family Endowment for the Penn State University Press. His $50,000 estate gift will give the editor-in-chief greater financial ability to pursue the highest needs of the Press, benefiting future generations of authors and bibliophiles.

Leach’s wife, Sophie Penney, is director of foundation relations for Penn State Development and Alumni Relations. Art‘s daughter and Sophie‘s stepdaughter, Brittany, studied Shakespeare and Elizabethan English in college.

Leach established the endowment to provide the biggest impact in supporting the entire life cycle of books published by the Penn State University Press, from their creation to collection to preservation. The gift is the first donor-endowed fund to benefit the Press, and the Leach family hopes their effort inspires others similarly to support the Press.

The funding will enable current Penn State University Press Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief Kendra Boileau, and her successors, to pursue important projects and new initiatives; support advancements to assist authors in funding projects which may require illustrations, travel, research or conference attendance; obtain translation rights from international publishers; and/or provide funds to promote the diversity of the Penn State University Press's “voice” internationally.

“With this funding, the Leach family’s love of books translates into a meaningful and enduring gesture supporting not just the Penn State University Press, but also the Press’s mission to publish and disseminate cutting-edge and meaningful research in the arts and humanities for the world,” said Patrick Alexander, Penn State University Press director. “Moreover, it recognizes the signal role of a university press in promoting the entire University and its values broadly through its publications.”

Penney previously committed an estate gift and provided annual support for the Wisniewski Family Fund in the Department of Psychology in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Founded in 1956, the Penn State University Press publishes high-quality books and journals of interest to scholars and general readers. In addition to its lists in the humanities and social sciences, the Press publishes two book imprints: Eisenbrauns, on the history, religion, and languages of the ancient near east, and Graphic Mundi, graphic novels on important subjects. Learn more at psupress.org, eisenbrauns.org, and graphicmundi.org.

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 about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Potential donors interested in supporting Penn State University Press or Penn State University Libraries may contact Director of Development Bob Darrah at rjd18@psu.edu.

  • photo portrait of husband and wife

    Art Leach established the Leach Family Endowment for the Penn State University Press through a planned gift to honor his book-loving family, including wife Sophie Penney, and to support the Press and its editor-in-chief in pursuing the highest needs of the Press, benefiting future generations of authors and and readers.

    Read more ›
    IMAGE: Provided

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 21, 2020