Penn State President Rodney Erickson and his wife, Shari, will donate $1 million to the university’s For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, Penn State announced.
The campaign runs through June 30.
Erickson will step down as president in May as Eric Barron takes over the post.
“Rod and Shari Erickson have been dedicated partners throughout For the Future, and we are fortunate to have their additional generosity as this campaign comes to a close,” campaign Chairman Peter Tombros said.
The Ericksons’ gift will benefit The Arboretum at Penn State, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and the Smeal College of Business.
“Shari and I have been fortunate to watch The Arboretum at Penn State grow from just an idea to a thriving destination for our community,” Erickson said in a news release. “We deeply value the contributions our faculty make to Penn State’s mission of teaching, research and service, and want to help promising scholars launch their careers at this university. We felt this gift would be the perfect way to give back to the university community that has given us so much.”
Penn State said, “Half of the $1 million will endow a future space or program at The Arboretum at Penn State, and the other half will be used to create an early career professorship rotating between the department of geography in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and department of management and organization in the Smeal College of Business, where President Erickson holds his faculty appointments.”
The Ericksons previously contributed to For the Future by creating the Rod and Shari Erickson Trustee Scholarship in the Schreyer Honors College.
Their giving to Penn State includes creating the Erickson Fund in Geography, and donations to the Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, the Four Diamonds Fund, the University Libraries, the Palmer Museum of Art, the Center for the Performing Arts and the Renaissance Fund.
“If any couple understands the quality of a Penn State education, it is the Ericksons,” said board of trustees Chairman Keith Masser. “They have been active participants in all aspects of the university community since they first arrived at Penn State. As they have seen the university grow during their time here, their gift will provide critical support that will allow Penn State to continue being an exceptional institution for many more decades to come.”