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The Bridge, Penn State Mont Alto Today, and the Parents and Families Newsletter

The Bridge, An Alumni Publication

FEATURE ARTICLE: Donor event celebrates the generosity that makes dreams possible

Penn State Mont Alto celebrated the generosity and philanthropy of those who help make students’ dreams come true during its 19th annual Donor Appreciation Celebration in October. The event brought scholarship recipients together with donors for an evening.

"Scholarships are the only answer for many current and future students to be able to realize a college degree,” said Ellen Palmer ’89, chair of the newly formed Development Committee, while speaking to the audience of about 500 students, parents, alumni and friends of the Mont Alto community who had gathered in the Multipurpose Activities Center (MAC). “There is no limit to the needs our scholarships fill.”

“It is my hope to continue to provide students with all the means they need to accomplish their dreams,” she said, noting that dedicated committee members are working to continue the successful fundraising efforts of For the Future, The Campaign for Penn State Students, which ended on June 30.

“As a result of the University’s nationwide, seven-year For the Future, The Campaign for Penn State Students, Penn State Mont Alto increased its endowment by 66 percent and now boasts 88 permanent endowments,” said Director of Development Randall Ackerman. “As a result of this generous support, tonight we celebrate 313 students receiving scholarship support totaling $443,525.”

Throughout the evening, donors and scholarship recipients had the opportunity to meet while also hearing about the importance of receiving scholarships. Chancellor Francis Achampong welcomed the crowd, saying “This is a wonderful way to personalize the meaningfulness of the generosity of our scholarship donors.”

Four checks were unveiled, highlighting scholarship support of more than $1.8 million to the Mont Alto campus. Featured gifts included: Summit Health, which has given $1,570,000 in support to the Penn State Mont Alto nursing program over the past 10 years; Patrice Nitterhouse and her husband, Dennis Zimmerman, who have given a cumulative total of $213,500 to two scholarships that support nursing students, The T.K. Nitterhouse Trustee Scholarship and The Penn National Golf Course Community Nursing Scholarship in Honor of Mary Steel; John Shearer ’51 and his wife, Pauline Shearer ’53, who gave $25,000 to support their Trustee Scholarship; and Dick Rice ’56, and his wife, Sue Rice ’55, who gave $13,500 to the Penn State Mont Alto student hardship endowment.

Thanks in part to the nursing scholarships and the Summit Health partnership that supports two nursing faculty positions on the Mont Alto campus, there are 121 students enrolled in Penn State Mont Alto’s nursing programs, according to Ackerman. “Each is working to receive a world class education from Mont Alto’s nationally and internationally recognized nursing educators,” he said.

The program ended with a performance by the Penn State Mont Alto Student Chorale, directed by David Bowman and accompanied by Jamie Buxton. Throughout the evening, scholarship students expressed their gratitude to those whose generosity is helping to make their dreams come true. 

“Scholarships are truly a very important aspect of my college life and the life of my family,” said veteran student and scholarship recipient Benjamin Stephey. “The world can seem like an unforgiving place at times, but for those of us who have support, and who are willing to meet life head on, there is light at the end of the tunnel. These scholarship awards and the people behind them are my light in the tunnel.” 

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Penn State Mont Alto Today

FEATURE ARTICLE:  Penn State Mont Alto Opens New Veterans Center

Penn State Mont Alto celebrated the opening of its new Veterans Center on September 10 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the campus’ Spring House patio, where the center is located. About 70 students currently receive GI educational benefits at Penn State Mont Alto. Fifty are veterans.

“The opening of the center begins a new chapter at PSMA,” said Anthony Dion, Penn State Mont Alto Veterans Association president. “This center will give veterans a place to call home and help us with our classes, to share our stories, to study, to connect with those who are like us and have experiences in life that…only veterans will be able to connect with,” he said.

Over 100 people gathered for a program that also included Chancellor Francis Achampong, Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn Hanes, Franklin County Commissioner David Keller, Veterans Affairs Coordinator Kathy Swope, and Legislative Assistant Chad Reichard representing Pennsylvania Senator Richard Alloway II.

Before the ceremony, the Chambersburg Area Senior High School NJROTC Color Guard presented the flag, student Marissa Bubbenmoyer performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the Penn State Mont Alto Jazz Ensemble performed.

The Penn State Mont Alto Student Veterans Association (SVA) was one of 11 university clubs selected from among 100 applicants to receive a $10,000 VetCenter Initiative grant from the SVA and The Home Depot Foundation partnership to refurbish a veterans’ center in April 2014. The Spring House, which is centrally located on the Penn State Mont Alto campus, was built in 1905 and previously served as a faculty lounge and mailroom. Its interior was renovated during the summer and now has computers for Internet access and space for student veterans to study and gather. 

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Parents and Families Newsletter: Welcome to the Family!


What is THON?

The Penn State Dance Marathon, better known as THON, is a yearlong effort to raise money and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, involving more than 15,000 Penn State student volunteers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Since 1977, THON has raised more than $114 million benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The Four Diamonds Fund is the sole beneficiary of THON’s fundraising efforts, and it picks up what insurance does not cover, such as travel expenses, lodging, and cost of treatment for families with children fighting pediatric cancer. THON itself is a 46-hour dance marathon with no sitting or sleeping, held at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. This is our way to celebrate life, and support those who may be suffering through losses.

Our mission is to conquer pediatric cancer and provide emotional and financial support to the children, families, and researchers. As Penn State Mont Alto, our organization consists of more than 140 members. This year we will be holding numerous events to raise money and awareness along with our three canning weekends for Four Diamonds and for our very own THON family!

Mont Alto “adopted” a Four Diamonds family of our own about four years ago. The Lighteners are not just our THON family, but a real family to us. Dan and Holly have two boys named Austin and Evan. Austin turned 7 this year on October 23rd and is also in the 1st grade! Evan is in kindergarten. Austin has been cancer-free for 3 years and can finally enjoy his life.  He loves the movie Frozen, especially Olaf, and in fact, he was Olaf for Halloween! Austin is incredibly smart and enjoys weather; he always checks the temperature and looks for potential weather. He recently got to visit an actual weather studio. Dan and Austin always look up at the stars, moon and space. Even though Austin is cancer-free, he and his family still need our support, both financially and emotionally.

Our campus beat all odds and raised more than $79,000.00 last year, breaking the prior years’ totals. Help us shatter that total again! If you wish to join us in the fight against pediatric cancer, please donate! Please make your check out to Penn State Dance Marathon and put Org #112 in the memo section. You may also send cash if you prefer.

You can send donations to Donna Rhodes, our THON Advisor, at Donna Rhodes Penn State Mont Alto 1 Campus Drive Mont Alto, PA 17237.  You may also reach her by email at dmr36@psu.edu if you have any questions. 

Thank you for your support For Penn State Mont Alto benefiting THON.

Sincerely, Hanna Hassan and Nick Cheadle, 2015 Mont Alto THON Chairs

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