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Mont Alto alumnus giving back

August 29, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Louis W. Schatz, a former Penn State Mont Alto student who became a major West Coast industrialist, will leave the campus $1.125 million in his will, the head of the school said Friday.

It's the second major gift to the 1,200-student campus in less than a year. In November, Drs. Albert and Lorraine Kligman set up a $500,000 endowed scholarship for nontraditional students.

David Goldenberg, CEO at Mont Alto, said more than $2 million in gifts and pledges have been received by the school in the last year, more than in all of its 95-year history. Goldenberg is in his second year as head of the school.

He said he found Schatz's name in school records and made arrangements to visit him in California.

Schatz attended Mont Alto from 1930 to 1932.

"This campus is really a special place. I love it here, so it's easy for me to go out and ask for gifts to support the campus," Goldenberg said.

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According to Goldenberg, Schatz, in his late 80s, lives in California.

His gift was announced at the second annual Founder's Convocation before the class of incoming freshmen on Thursday. Schatz, who started General Plastics Manufacturing Co. of Tacoma, Wash., did not attend the event and was unavailable for comment.

Goldenberg said $500,000 of Schatz's gift will be used to establish an endowed professorship in molecular tree genetics in his name.

"It's the pinnacle in higher education to be able to hire the top people," Goldenberg said. The campus has 60 full-time faculty members and 40 part-time instructors.

Another $500,000 will help establish a biannual international symposium at Mont Alto that will bring in the top six or seven experts in tree genetics plus 150 additional researchers from around the world to discuss and create breakthroughs in tree genetics, Goldenberg said.

"Can you imagine bringing in the five or six greatest thinkers here, then 150 people who want to hear every word that comes out of their mouths?" Goldenberg said.

The rest of Schatz's inheritance, $125,000, will set up a scholarship fund for students who want to study tree genetics, he said.

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