Penn State

On Centre | Penn State: The gifts that keep on giving

Some people put their names on their license plates or wear their hearts on their sleeves.

For others, their names, and their hearts, are attached to a gift to the school that made them the people they are.

Walk around Penn State, every campus, every college, every school, every building, and you are surrounded by a continuing legacy of blue and white love.

That is nothing new, of course. Every university has buildings named for those who have gone before.

But perhaps it is the volume that stands out with Nittany naming.

After all, with a whole state’s worth of Commonwealth Campuses on top of the flagship in Happy Valley, there are a lot of opportunities to put your money where your heart is.

Penn State even has a whole campus named after a donor, Mary Behrend, who gave her Erie-area estate to the university in 1948. Today, that farm has become a huge complex with a $30 million research center, a $10 million athletic center, an observatory and 4,000 or so students.

From the Paterno Library to Schreyer Honors College, Lubrano Park to Pegula Arena, the names of those proud to speak about their attachment to Penn State are writ large on our history and our architecture.

There is another group of names attached to things that are less tangible but just as important. Some fund education directly, like the McCombie scholarship that goes to a World Campus student who is a veteran or service member. Others endow positions for educators.

Another of those was announced this week when former Penn State professor David Donohue and his son, Penn State master’s grad Tim Donohue, gave $1 million to create the Donohue family professorship in energy and mineral engineering.

“Penn State was very important to me during my formative years. I went to graduate school there, and later, after working in industry, joined the faculty and taught for four years. I spent some of the best years of my life at Penn State. Later, my son, Tim, received his Master of Science degree in geosciences in the same college. Penn State will always hold a special place in our hearts. What we learned there was extremely helpful in our later careers. The two of us, and indeed, our whole family, are pleased to make this contribution to a great institution so that it can expand its mission of developing future leaders,” said David Donohue in a statement released Monday.

Those gifts stand there to carry on into the future, something that will be there to house and educate the real gift given by families across the state, the country and the globe: the next generations of scientists, artists, teachers and thinkers.