John E. Morgan Foundation establishes $1 million endowment for scholarships

A $1 million scholarship endowment to benefit Penn State Hazleton students has been made possible by the John E. Morgan Foundation. The John E. Morgan Foundation Trustee Scholarship will be created, which will help qualified students with financial need to attend the Hazleton campus.

The Morgan Foundation made a $1 million gift to The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which then directed the funds to Penn State Hazleton. It is the largest gift that the Hazleton campus has received during Penn State's current fundraising effort, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.

"We are profoundly grateful for this generous gift from the John E. Morgan Foundation given through The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund," said Penn State Hazleton Chancellor Gary M. Lawler. "The John E. Morgan Foundation Trustee Scholarship will provide access for generations of students from the four-county region who might not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a Penn State degree. We truly appreciate the support from the foundation, as well as that of the campus campaign committee, for their important roles in our fundraising efforts."

Consideration for John E. Morgan Trustee Scholarships will be given to Hazleton campus undergraduates who have financial need, with first preference going to advanced standing/transfer students who are graduates of high schools in Luzerne, Schuylkill, Lehigh and Carbon counties.

Through the Trustee Matching Scholarship program, The Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund has secured funds equal to 5 percent of the endowment's value each year from University funds to match the scholarship endowment's own annual spending amount (approximately 4.5 percent). Both payouts will continue in perpetuity. Though the size and number of awards will vary with need, as many as 60 students could benefit during a given year once the endowment is fully funded.

"While 86 percent of our students qualify for financial aid," Lawler added, "only 17 percent currently receive University scholarships, so the new scholarships will have an enormous impact on our campus."

"We are deeply committed to helping the communities in eastern Pennsylvania to thrive," said Jim Zigmant, president of the Morgan Foundation. "Higher education is crucial in making that possible, and Penn State Hazleton offers a wealth of opportunities for the people of our region to better themselves through education. We are thrilled that our philanthropy will ultimately ease the financial burden for students at the Hazleton campus."

John E. Morgan, who died in 2001 at age 89, earned prominence in the textile industry with his late-1950s invention of the waffle stitch, used in the manufacture of long underwear and blankets. He sold the J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills in 1984 and retired to a second career as a philanthropist, with Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics among the beneficiaries.

The Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation carries on his philanthropic work. In recent years, the foundation has made major gifts to the Penn State Children's Hospital Building Campaign and established a Trustee Scholarship endowment at Penn State Schuylkill. The recent scholarship endowment is the Morgan Foundation's first partnership with the Pennsylvania State University Philanthropic Fund, which was created to secure gifts and make grants to benefit Penn State.

"The Morgan Foundation has been extremely generous, not just to Penn State, but to many other organizations and individuals in the region," said Rodney Kirsch, president of the Philanthropic Fund and senior vice president for development and alumni relations at Penn State. "We are grateful for the opportunity to work with them to achieve our shared goals for the communities we serve."

The gift will also help Penn State Hazleton to reach the goals of the For the Future campaign, a University-wide effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The campaign is engaging alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. For the Future is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.