On Nov. 8, Chris Trenge, a sophomore psychology major, attended the Penn State Lehigh Valley Scholarship Dinner with his proud mother, Chrissy.
“With five kids, you just hope they can fulfill their dreams and not feel held back being from a big family. We definitely appreciate the scholarship Chris received,” said Chrissy Trenge. “And this campus is a great fit because its small atmosphere helps it feel like a family.”
The event, attended by 70 students and donors, was held to celebrate students and express gratitude to the people who donate to the campus' scholarships. Trenge received the Jerome and Martha Markowitz Trustee Scholarship.
“Coming from a large family, this scholarship takes the burden off of me and my parents of whether or not I’d be able to afford school,” said Chris Trenge. “Now, I can focus on school and worry less about the cost of an education.”
More than 900 students are currently enrolled at the Lehigh Valley campus, and about 60 percent receive financial aid or need-based scholarship funds.
“When I went to college, I paid my own way,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “While that was possible then, it is much more difficult now. Scholarships ensure that future generations of students can find even more opportunities for growth and achievement at Penn State.”
Shane McGee, a 1997 Penn State Smeal of College of Business alumnus, shared why he and his wife, Katelyn Powers, are involved and why they give back to students.
“We both were in your shoes as students years ago, and we know what you are facing and how scholarships can help,” said McGee, who is also co-chair of the Penn State Lehigh Valley Development Committee.
Naseeba Saeed, junior corporate communication major at Penn State Lehigh Valley, reflected on the importance of her Penn State scholarships, which include the Eugene and Sandra Slaski Scholarship, the Women’s Commission Scholarship and the Lehigh Valley Alumni Scholarship.
“I’m thankful to be here today because I know there are many people who don’t have the same opportunity to get an education. Not only has my Penn State education made me a smarter person, it has made me a better person. I believe education is about being engaged in the community and giving back,” said Saeed.
Advisory Board Chair Kate Durso spoke as a representative of the campus advisory board. She shared her perspective as a beneficiary of both financial and academic scholarships when she was a student.
“I understand the benefits I received being one of six children and having my parents not have to have the financial implications associated with that many children going to college. Whether you donate time or money, it’s important,” said Durso.
“I got tired of working in retail where I had no room for growth and decided to go back to school. My dream is to work in the IT field. I am a dad to a 4-year-old little girl and I attend school full time while working full time. I view this scholarship as a helping hand that lifts me up to reach for my dreams.”
—Jesus Delapaz , junior information sciences and technology major at Lehigh Valley and recipient of the Julius Cohen Memorial Fund Scholarship.
Phillip St. James, director of campus development at Penn State Lehigh Valley, closed the program by thanking donors and telling attendees about the Giving Tuesday campaign, where the campus will raise funds to support current and future students. Donations made through the PSU-LV Giving Tuesday website between 18:55 (6:55 p.m.) on Monday, Nov. 27 — representing when Penn State was founded in 1855 — and 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28 will go to the PSU-LV Scholarship fund in support of students who want to become Penn State alumni and benefit from the power of a Penn State degree.
For every "Gold Donor," a Penn State graduate of the last decade, who donates a minimum of $10 during Giving Tuesday, the University will contribute an additional $100 per donor. Follow Penn State Lehigh Valley on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at PSULehighValley, for live updates on the #PSUGivingTue challenge.
Philanthropic support for Penn State students, faculty, research and programs has always been a part of the University’s foundation. With the continued partnership of alumni and friends, Penn State’s historic mission to serve the public good and create a better future for students, the Commonwealth, and the world can be fulfilled.
The Scholarship Dinner was organized by the Penn State Lehigh Valley Scholarship Committee, which is comprised of faculty and staff from the campus.
“I work while going to school, so I go straight from class to work. Receiving scholarships helps lift a big burden from my shoulders. I want to thank the generosity of the donors.”
—Jonathan Rappold , sophomore accounting major at Penn State Lehigh Valley and recipient of the Jerome and Martha Markowitz Trustee Scholarship and Patt Renaissance Scholarship.