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Penn State Mont Alto joins university's fundraising campaign

May 01, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

MONT ALTO, Pa. -- Penn State Mont Alto joined the public phase of Penn State University's latest fundraising effort, announcing Saturday a $5 million goal for the satellite campus.

Donors across the university system have contributed more than $1 billion toward the "For the Future" campaign to date, $2,068,000 of which came through Mont Alto, university President Graham B. Spanier said.

The campaign aims to raise money to ensure student opportunity, enhance honors education, enrich student experience, build faculty strength and sustain a tradition of quality, Spanier said.

Hoping ultimately to make Penn State education more accessible, the impacts of the campaign will be felt at every campus, he said.

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Jim Ingram, Mont Alto campaign chairman, said 41 percent of all Mont Alto students are the first in their families to go to college. Those same students come from families that make on average $13,000 less than the average family income in the university system, he said.

But Mont Alto students graduate with a loan debt of 13 percent more that the average Penn State student, he said.

Scholarships, such as those that will be created by the endowments that continued to roll in Saturday, help students choose Penn State Mont Alto every year, said Randall Ackerman, director of development.

For Meranda Kohlenberg, a student at Mont Alto, the scholarships allow her to continue studying at Penn State.

Kohlenberg said she was planning to transfer to Shippensburg (Pa.) University to save her family tuition until she found that a faculty member has advocated for her to get more scholarship funding.

Scholarships brought her Mont Alto education to within $1,000 of Shippensburg's price, she said.

"The fact that Robin (Yaure) went out of her way to secure me a scholarship meant more to me than the $1,000," she said. "Penn State Mont Alto is my home."

Needs such as Kohlenberg's are great across the university system for additional student aid, especially if the university will reach its goal of becoming the nation's top student-centered research university, Spanier said.

A who's who of Franklin County filled the Mont Alto gym to support the campaign.

Between sponsorship of tables, outright donations and a silent auction, Penn State Mont Alto raised $22,200 toward the campaign Saturday.

Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor David Gnage said the campaign will continue through 2014.

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