UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fans of Penn State football have a new opportunity to honor the 2012 Nittany Lions, thanks to the generosity of Philip and Rosalind Sky, longtime friends of the University. The Skys have committed $50,000 to create The STAR Football Scholarship Honoring Coach O’Brien and the 2012 Football Team, and they are encouraging other fans to enhance its impact by making their own gifts to the new endowment.
“We’re creating this scholarship especially to recognize the loyal seniors playing in the 2012 season,” explained Roz Sky. “It’s been such a difficult year for our team,” she said, “but the players have shown great resiliency and enormous spirit in working to overcome the challenges. We want to honor their dedication and commitment to Penn State.”
“We hope this will be a collective effort, too,” added Phil Sky. “We encourage everyone who shares our deep sense of pride in our team to give to the scholarship, at whatever level they are comfortable with. To that end, two couples — Steve and Nancy Sheetz, and Tobi and Dave Rispoli — agreed to make significant contributions even before the fund was made public.”
Creating an endowed scholarship at Penn State requires a minimum commitment of $50,000. With the Skys’ gift and their open invitation to other donors, fans of the football team can contribute to the STAR Scholarship, which will generate scholarship funds for student-athletes on the Penn State football team every year in perpetuity.
Gifts of any amount to the STAR Football Scholarship can be made online at GiveNow.psu.edu/2012Football or by phone at 800-NITTANY. Donors to this collective scholarship fund will be eligible to receive Nittany Lion Club priority points, but donations to this fund will not satisfy Nittany Lion Club annual giving requirements for ticketing and parking privileges.
“This gift from the Skys is an exceptional gesture that offers other fans the chance to honor the 2012 football team in a powerful and lasting way,” said Acting Athletics Director David Joyner. “As an endowed scholarship that will help many student-athletes in years to come, the STAR Football Scholarship embodies the best of Penn State’s values, so it will be an impressive show of support for the team and a great legacy to establish in their name. We are extremely grateful for the Skys’ generosity and for the support that the Penn State community has shown the football team over the past year.”
Roz Sky explained that “STAR” in the scholarship’s title is an acronym for “SpeciaL Team ALways Remember,” with the L’s standing for “loyalty.” She said the idea to establish the scholarship originated with a recent story she read about senior cornerback Stephon Morris and the immense pride and love his father feels for him. “It really touched my heart,” she said. “Phil and I wanted to do something to show our support. We know a lot of other people feel the same as we do, so this seemed like a good way to get others involved.”
The Skys are longstanding donors and volunteers to Penn State Altoona. In 2001, the campus rededicated its food court building as the Port-Sky Café in recognition of major gifts from the Skys and another couple, Neil and Marilyn Port. The Skys have also created the Sky Family Scholarship and have contributed significantly to the Altoona Future Fund and other initiatives at the campus.
The Skys’ gift will also help Intercollegiate Athletics to reach the goals of the For the Future campaign, a University-wide 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.
The University wishes to acknowledge and thank all Penn State fans who showed tremendous loyalty and support throughout the 2012 football season.