Penn State Hazleton students from Schuylkill, Carbon, Lehigh and Luzerne counties could benefit from a $1 million scholarship endowment made possible by the John E. Morgan Foundation, a Tamaqua-based foundation.
The Morgan Foundation made a $1 million gift to The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which then directed the funds to Penn State Hazleton under the John E. Morgan Trustee Scholarship, which will help qualified students with financial need who attend the Hazleton campus. Officials at Penn State say that this was the largest gift the Hazleton campus has received during Penn State's current fundraising effort, "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State students."
Approximately 1,200 students attend the Hazleton campus.
Consideration for John E. Morgan Trustee Scholarships will be given to Hazleton campus undergraduates who have financial need, with first preference going to advanced standing/transfer students who are graduates of high schools in all four counties.
"We are profoundly grateful for this generous gift from the John E. Morgan Foundation given through The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund," said Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary M. Lawler. "The John E. Morgan Foundation Trustee Scholarship will provide access for generations of students from the four-county region who might not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a Penn State degree. We truly appreciate the support from the foundation, as well as that of the campus campaign committee, for their important roles in our fundraising efforts."
"We are deeply committed to helping the communities in eastern Pennsylvania to thrive," said Jim Zigmant, president of the Morgan Foundation. "Higher education is crucial in making that possible, and Penn State Hazleton offers a wealth of opportunities for the people of our region to better themselves through education. We are thrilled that our philanthropy will ultimately ease the financial burden for students at the Hazleton campus."
Through the Trustee Matching Scholarship program, The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund has secured funds equal to 5 percent of the endowment's value each year from University funds to match the scholarship endowment's own annual spending amount (approximately 4.5 percent). Both payouts will continue in perpetuity. Though the size and number of awards will vary with need, as many as 60 students could benefit during a given year once the endowment is fully funded.
"While 86 percent of our students qualify for financial aid," Lawler added, "only 17 percent currently receive University scholarships, so the new scholarships will have an enormous impact on our campus."
"I really enjoy all the courses provided at Penn State," said Aleksander Everett, 18, a 2011 graduate of Palmerton Area High School. Everett, who is studying electrical engineering at Penn State Hazleton, said, "Penn State offers a great electrical engineering and alternative energy curriculum. This is a growing field."
John E. Morgan, who passed away in 2001 at age 89, earned prominence in the textile industry with his late-1950s invention of the waffle stitch, used in the manufacture of long underwear and blankets. He sold the J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills in 1984 and retired to a second career as a philanthropist, with Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics among the beneficiaries.
The John E. Morgan Foundation has since carried on his philanthropic work. In recent years, the foundation has made major donations to the Penn State Children's Hospital Building Campaign, provided free tuition for qualified Tamaqua Area High School graduates attending Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC) and established a Trustee Scholarship endowment at Penn State Schuylkill. The recent scholarship endowment is the Morgan Foundation's first partnership with The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, which was created to secure gifts and make grants to benefit Penn State.
"The pride and comradery of both students and alumni at Penn State is unsurpassed," said Penn State Hazleton business management student Andrea Rodgers, 19, from Coaldale. Rodgers, a 2010 graduate of Panther Valley Area High School, added, "They offer a large array of engineering and business courses here." Rodgers is also a captain of the Penn State Hazleton cheerleaders.
The gift will also help Penn State Hazleton to reach the goals of the For the Future campaign, a Universitywide effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The campaign is engaging alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality.
The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. For the Future is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.
"I like Penn State because the school pride is seriously unlike anything else," said Penn State Hazleton student Kristina Zwolenik, a graduate of Tamaqua Area High School. "There is no other place that you see stick together after everything we as a school have gone through."
"The Morgan Foundation has been extremely generous, not just to Penn State, but to many other organizations and individuals in the region," said Rodney Kirsch, president of the Philanthropic Fund and senior vice president for development and alumni relations at Penn State.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to work with them to achieve our shared goals for the communities we serve."