Penn State announces two major gifts for scholarships

A Penn State alumnus who sought a seat on the board of trustees in the most recent election, along with his wife, have given the university’s Alumni Association the largest gift in its 143-year history.

Matthew and Anne Schuyler, of McLean, Va., have made a $1 million commitment to endow the association’s Lion Ambassador program, whose student members are perhaps best known for the tours they lead around campus for prospective students and their families.

The Schuylers’ endowment will generate about $50,000 annually to support the program’s operational expenses.

“Their extraordinary gift will ensure that the program — and its exceptional student members — will continue to grow its tradition of excellent service to the Alumni Association and the university,” association President Kay Salvino said in a prepared statement. “Their gift is a vote of confidence, and we will work hard to maintain their trust and grow the relationship we have developed.”

About 130 students involved with he program each year are tasked with, among other things, communicating the university’s history and instilling Penn State pride in current and future students and alumni, the university said in a statement.

“I was honored to be part of the program during its first decade, and my experience with the ambassador program has become an indelible part of who I am as a Penn State alumnus, an executive in a global business, a father and a person,” Matthew Schuyler said in a statement. “The cornerstones of the Lion Ambassador program are a core set of values, behaviors and principles — and, of course, a deep love for Penn State.”

Penn State also announced Wednesday that it has received a $7 million donation to help Philadelphia-area students in need of financial assistance to attend the university.

Philanthropist Brook J. Lenfest committed the money through his foundation and directed the funds to help students who have significant financial need and have graduated from Philadelphia School District schools.

“No hard-working student should be prevented from receiving a college degree because they cannot pay, and that is why I am partnering with Penn State to provide financial opportunity to some of the most financially challenged students in Pennsylvania,” Lenfest said in a statement. “Many Philadelphia students have the aptitude to receive a four-year degree but simply cannot afford it.”

Penn State will provide an annual 10 percent match from university funds on the $7 million pledge with money from the Trustee Matching Scholarship program.

“This trustee scholarship represents an incredible commitment to this critical student population,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. “Brook Lenfest has been a longtime partner with Penn State in providing educational opportunity for students from the Philadelphia area, and his new scholarship will ensure that many talented students will not be turned away from their college dreams because of financial circumstances.”