UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State alumni Ray and Marlene Bolze have committed $500,000 to support study abroad scholarships for students in the College of the Liberal Arts. The Ray S. and Marlene Marks Bolze Study Abroad Endowment will give first preference to students who show academic promise and have financial need.
The Bolzes have made $50,000 available to activate their fund, so that students will be able to benefit from it immediately. The remaining $450,000 of their gift will come from their estate and endow the fund in perpetuity
The couple, who live in Bethesda, Md., both earned degrees in arts and letters from the University. Ray Bolze, an attorney with Howrey & Simon in Washington, D.C., graduated in 1957. Marlene Bolze is a 1958 graduate.
The Bolzes said neither of them studied abroad during their time at Penn State, in part because it was not an easily accessible option when they were students. “I don’t know a soul who did study abroad back then,” said Marlene Bolze. Since then, the Bolzes and their children have visited other countries and were deeply influenced by the experience. They said their travels greatly expanded their outlook on the world and believe such a perspective is even more essential as the world grows ever smaller through globalization.
“Both of us feel so strongly that, to have a complete education, it is necessary to get out of our own country and see how other people deal with everyday life and its challenges,” said Marlene Bolze. “It really broadens you and gives you so much to think about. Our world is becoming so widespread that students need to be aware of what is happening in other countries.”
This is the second scholarship fund the Bolzes have established. The first, the Ray S. and Marlene Marks Bolze Scholarship in the College of the Liberal Arts, supports students who demonstrate academic excellence, with preference going to those from the Washington, D.C., area.
“This generous gift will allow us to open the world to many more students by providing support for study abroad,” said Susan Welch, dean of the college. “Often students cannot take advantage of the study abroad opportunities Penn State offers because they must work or they simply do not have the extra funds they need for a trip abroad. With the support of the Bolze Study Abroad Endowment, students with financial need can also have the life-changing experience of living and studying abroad.”