Penn State

Penn State, community members help raise $50,000 for scholarship honoring Osaze Osagie

More than $50,000 has been raised in support of the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship at Penn State, the university said.

Family, friends and community members raised more than $25,000, and the university matched every dollar raised to create an endowment for students facing mental health challenges and other disabilities, the university said Wednesday in a news release.

The family thanked Penn State, the university’s community, Centre County residents, State College businesses and other well-wishers who were instrumental in funding the initiative.

“My family and I are very happy to learn that efforts toward building an endowed scholarship fund for Penn State students with mental health challenges have been successfully launched,” Sylvester Osagie said in the release. “Quality-of-life issues are very important and urgently need to be addressed in our community. We hope that the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity will help address such matters. ... We hope that these scholarships will have a major positive impact on the lives of students in the years to come and that supporters of this memorial fund will continue to rally around the vision to touch as many lives as possible.”

Osagie, a former Penn State student, was fatally shot in March when State College police attempted to serve a mental health warrant. Sylvester and his mother, Iyun, were longtime members of the university’s faculty.

“Our university and local communities have come together in the face of hardship and tragedy to honor the life of Osaze Osagie with a scholarship program that will carry on his legacy at Penn State for years to come,” Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for educational equity, said in the release. “I am deeply grateful to our donors who have honored his memory by helping students who may need some extra support and who also make Penn State a richer and more vibrant place to learn and grow.”

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Iynn Osagie, Osaze Osagie’s mother, and crowd of community members walk up Allen Street in downtown State College to rally for justice on May 8, 2019. Osaze was shot by police on March 20, 2019 after the officers went to his apartment to serve a mental health warrant. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Since it was created in April, more than 300 gifts have been made to the scholarship. The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity plans to award the scholarship next year, the university said.

“This scholarship not only means a great deal to the family and friends of Osaze; it also is an important resource of financial aid that will help to minimize the stress of tuition costs and remove some barriers to achievement,” Whitehurst said in a statement. “The value of education for those who suffer with mental health challenges cannot be underestimated, and it is our goal through this scholarship to offer support and contribute to the well-being of those who qualify.”

The university also has plans for educational programs at the university to train law enforcement in handling interactions with individuals experiencing mental health crises, the university said.

Tax-deductible contributions may be made at raise.psu.edu/OsazeOsagieMemorialScholarship or by mail to University Development, 2601 Gateway Drive, Suite 150, State College, PA 16801.

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Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.
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