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Spring Township, Pa. - Penn State Berks announced its participation in the public phase of Penn State's university-wide campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. At a reception on Thursday, April 29, 2010 Berks Chancellor, Dr. Susan Phillips Speece, announced that the campus's goal is to secure $11 million by June 30, 2014. These funds will ensure that the college can  continue to offer an outstanding education to students from every economic background while benefiting the public through research and service. Speece also announced that over $5 million in gifts and pledges have been raised so far during the "quiet phase" of the campaign, which began January 1, 2007.

This $11 million is Berks' piece of Penn State University's overall campaign to raise an unprecedented $2 billion in private support for the institution. With more than $1 billion raised to date, that goal, announced by President Graham Spanier at an event on Friday, April 23, will make it the biggest fundraising effort in the University's history.

"Penn State has made it possible for hundreds of thousands of individuals to sustain their families, advance their professions, and contribute to our country's strength," Spanier told more than 1,000 volunteers and donors gathered at the Bryce Jordan Center. "The For the Future campaign will ensure that we can continue to prepare our students for leadership in a world vastly different from any that previous generations have experienced."

The campaign's top priority, noted Speece, is to increase scholarship support. "Our students are the central focus of all we do here at Penn State Berks. The reality is, with ever-decreasing levels of public funding, Penn State must rely more and more on private support to continue to fulfill our land-grant mission of providing access to higher education to all qualified students. Our students tend to stay in this area once they graduate, so as we provide educational challenges and resources to help them succeed, we help provide our region with resources, energy, and support that will help all of our citizens thrive."

Ensuring student access and opportunity through scholarship support is one of six key campaign objectives. The other priorities of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students are:
-- enhancing honors education and encouraging innovation across the curriculum;
-- enriching the experiences of students beyond the classroom and preparing them for global leadership;
-- building faculty strength and capacity through support for dedicated teachers and scholars at every
    stage of their careers;
-- fostering discovery and creativity through interdisciplinary research initiatives;
-- sustaining the tradition of overall quality for which the University has become recognized around the world.

The Berks initiative has the assistance of a team of area business professionals serving as a volunteer campaign cabinet. The team is led by co-chairs Eugene Curry, Jr. of Curry and Associates, Wyomissing, and Steven Weidman, Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager at Sovereign Bank. Both spoke at the campaign kickoff reception regarding the need for support from alumni and friends to help make the dream of a college education a reality for future scientists, writers, engineers, and teachers who are currently studying at Penn State Berks.

"Throughout our history, philanthropy has played a major role in our success," Speece remarked. "More than half a century ago, we opened our doors to several hundred students with a mission to provide quality education and training at an affordable price. We have been able to succeed in that mission, in part, due to the many faithful and generous individuals, corporations, and foundations that share our commitment to this region. Their support has enabled us to grow into a premier four-year college, currently offering 15 baccalaureate and 8 associate degrees and research opportunities to our 2,800 undergraduate students."

The launch of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students marks Penn State's third university-wide capital campaign since The Campaign for Penn State began in 1984. Penn State Berks' held several of its own fundraising campaigns prior to that, beginning with its first intensive fundraising initiative launched in the late 1960s when the "Berks Center" of Penn State was located on Hill Avenue in Wyomissing in the former Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute facilities. That campaign had a goal of $1 million to be used toward a new campus. With the help of community leaders, that goal was reached and in the fall of 1972, Penn State Berks opened for classes at its current location, now a sprawling 260-acre campus on Broadcasting Road in Spring Township.

The previous, university-wide Grand Destiny campaign, from 1996 to 2003, raised $1.37 billion for Penn State overall, and emphasized gifts for endowment of scholarships, professorships, and programs, along with matching gifts for selected bricks-and-mortar projects, including the Boscov-Lakin Information Commons and Cohen Cyber Cafe, additions to Berks' Thun Library Building.      

"Penn State's alumni and friends have recognized that the destiny of the University is in their hands," said Spanier. "Through For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, our supporters will help us to affirm our role as the most comprehensive, student-centered, research university in America."

Lisa Weidman, Penn State Berks, 610-396-6054, lrw6@psu.edu.
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