DUBOIS – An unprecedented 2:1 matching scholarship program offered by Penn State has generated $1,410,000, so far, for student scholarships.
The Open Doors program runs through June 30, offering donors who make a minimum $30,000 pledge, payable over five years, to establish a scholarship a 2:1 match.
This means Penn State will match the donor’s initial pledge with $60,000 from the university, creating a $90,000 endowment.
“The generous commitment of our donors to scholarship endowments and other projects enable our DuBois campus to fulfill its mission of educating the citizens of our region and sustaining its service to the region,” said Chancellor M. Scott McBride.
“Now, through this one-time, two-to-one match, Open Doors Scholarship Program, donors can triple the already vital impact of helping students to pursue and complete a coveted Penn State degree.”
Illustrating how vital that impact is are studies that have found only 50 percent of students from low-income households graduate in six years.
The Open Doors program is aimed at addressing such issues by funding scholarships, as well as pilot programs, that will help students transition into college while maintaining jobs.
At Penn State DuBois, 90 percent of campus students have a need for financial aid. Though $450,000 in scholarship dollars is currently awarded annually, many students remain in need. The average unmet need per student is over $7,000 a year.
The very first donor to establish and Open Doors Scholarship at Penn State DuBois was Ross Kester. He retired from the campus after nearly 30 years of service as a senior instructor in engineering.
Before joining the campus faculty full-time in 1978, Kester received his Bachelor’s and Master’s in education from Penn State. He has worked as a consulting engineer and designed pneumatic conveying equipment.
Kester has received many awards, including the Penn State DuBois Engineering Club Award, Penn State DuBois Professor of the Year Award, the Department of General Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award and was named the Penn State DuBois Post-secondary Tech Prep Educator of the Year.
Kester named his scholarship in honor of his friend and former colleague, the late William H. Keown. Kester said, “Bill was a dedicated family man who enjoyed knowledge, and being involved in the community.
“He was loved and respected by many. He was quick with a smile, a listening ear, and one of his famous hugs.”
William and Nancy Allenbaugh are among donors who have taken advantage of this opportunity, as well, creating the William and Nancy Allenbaugh Scholarship.
“As an alumni and retired adjunct faculty at Penn State DuBois, I have observed and experienced the benefit of attending a great university in the middle of rural Pennsylvania,” William Allenbaugh said.
“Penn State DuBois has many graduates who stay in the local area and enhance our local community. Unfortunately, there are numerous talented individuals in the local area who, due to economic hardship, are unable to obtain a Penn State education without borrowing, and long-term debt.
“Others give up their dreams, believing that they can’t afford it. We view this scholarship as an opportunity, to ‘pay it forward’ and provide financial assistance to talented local individuals with financial needs.
“Our future is dependent on the education and skills of the youth of our community. This scholarship is our opportunity to assist the next generation in fulfilling their educational dreams which will benefit the entire local community.”
William and Nancy met in high school and married in 1973. They have two children. William graduated from Penn State in 1973 with a Bachelor’s in law enforcement and corrections.
He received his Masters in 1990, and became a licensed psychologist in 1994, opening his own practice, with Nancy as financial director. William also taught classes at the campus in the Human Development and Family Studies program.
Christine Beretsel attended the DuBois campus for the first two years and finished her Bachelor’s in accounting at University Park.
She was a student athlete and a member of Delta Mu Sigma, the DuBois Campus Honor Society. She is recently retired from the pharmaceutical firm, Merck, were she had worked since graduation. She has supported the campus for years and currently serves on the Greater Penn State Campaign Committee.
Beretsel said, “I purposefully direct my contributions toward the DuBois campus because it was the primary reasons I was financially able to go to college.
“I had access to the benefits of a nationally-recognized Penn State education while living at home and keeping my job. I want to ensure someone else has that same opportunity.”