Pennsylvania State University has announced a $15.5 million commitment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to establish the A. James Clark Scholars Program in the Penn State College of Engineering.
To be matched with $10 million from the university to create an endowment — the largest such match in Penn State history — the gift will provide annual support for ten scholars with demonstrated financial need based on their academic accomplishments, extracurricular leadership, and commitment to civic engagement. Clark Scholars also will be invited to participate in summer "bridge" programs, a cohort-based global experience, a shared residential experience, and community-service projects.
The program supports the college's Engineering Equity Initiative, which aims to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in engineering, with a focus on boosting the share of women who earn bachelor's degrees in the subject to 50 percent by 2026. To date, the foundation's signature initiative in engineering education has been established at ten U.S. universities, including Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Virginia Tech.
"This program is designed so that Clark Scholars receive much more than an outstanding engineering education," said Tonya Peeples, associate dean for equity and inclusion and chair of the Clark Scholars Program steering committee. "They will also touch communities beyond the university through outreach and service projects, and they will develop a worldview that is global in scope, entrepreneurial in nature, and always conscious of social and environmental issues. We want to prepare them to really make an impact after graduation, to take on roles as socially responsible innovators and leaders in the industries in which they pursue their careers."