CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley opened its first art gallery in September 2010 with support and funding from campus leadership.
In 2014, Ronald K. De Long, a Lehigh Valley artist, advocate and art instructor at Penn State Lehigh Valley, committed to donate $100,000 to the gallery. The gallery was named The Ronald K. De Long Gallery to honor his support and generosity in July 2014.
De Long also established a scholarship in memory of his partner, Chuck McAnall, which was McAnall’s wish.
The Charles R. McAnall III Trustee Scholarship is for students who are enrolled or planning to enroll at Penn State Lehigh Valley who have demonstrated financial need. First preference is given to students majoring in or planning to major in arts administration, or a similar degree program. This scholarship was part of the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program where Penn State matches five percent of the total pledge, making the gift even more impactful.
"In many ways, my goal was about sustaining the study and exposure of fine art to many because support was absent for me when I wanted it most from parents. It was about supporting higher education that will continue to impact more than just one or two, but it was my goal to impact many about the value of the visual arts."
— Ronald K. De Long
De Long earned his bachelor of science and master of of science degrees in art education from Kutztown University. He has studied painting in Massachusetts, Austria and Mexico. De Long has taught at elementary, middle and secondary public schools, as well as at Cedar Crest College, Moravian College, Kutztown University, the Baum School of Art and Getty Center for the Arts during his career. He served as the manager of art education and educational curriculum at Crayola in Easton from 1995-2007.
De Long started teaching Penn State courses at the Baum School in Allentown in 2007, before becoming a full-time instructor at the Lehigh Valley campus in 2009. He has received both the National Elementary Art Educator of the Year award and the PA Art Education of the Year award.
A few months ago, De Long fulfilled his $150,000 pledge for both the gallery and the scholarship. De Long shared his motivation behind the generous gift.
“I just last week crossed off one more life goal on my bucket list!," he said. "Many parents either have completely funded their child’s college education or fiscally supported their child’s continued education in part or in some fashion. Parental support often comes from their love of their child. It is by all accounts a great and true act of love. I always yearned to know this feeling!
"Since I had parents who did not support my continued education in the visual arts, or college for that matter, and because of the fact that I have no children of my own, I decided 5 years ago to underwrite a space, a place where college students and a community of many higher learners could continue their education about fine visual art," explained De Long.
"I just this year completed my financial and fiduciary obligation of a $150,000 pledge to name and keep a perpetual space in place to fulfill my personal goal and obligation to continued higher education in and about the fine visual arts at Penn State Lehigh Valley. That space is The Ronald K. De Long Gallery," he added.
"In ways I now know what it feels like to help finance a child’s education, but not as a parent. My goal was to continue to make available a relevant and ongoing place where folks can grow and learn about fine art and artists beyond high school way into the future. I have my dear friend, Ann Lalik, who dreams up, designs and implements the fine programming. And Ann Williams who, through her enlightenment, expanded arts vision and supported visual art at Penn State Lehigh Valley during her tenure as chancellor. Thanks to both Ann and Ann!
"In many ways, my goal was about sustaining the study and exposure of fine art to many because support was absent for me when I wanted it most from parents. It was about supporting higher education that will continue to impact more than just one or two, but it was my goal to impact many about the value of the visual arts.
"God has blessed me in many ways and I think of the gallery space as a visual arts gift to the Lehigh Valley. May the space and those who sustain the place and its programming continue my dream and my goal to teach and inspire visual art dreamers and future artists way into the future!”