Penn State trustees approve Hazleton campus library name

The library at Penn State Hazleton will be named after Mary and Bertil Lofstrom during a ceremony on September 13.

The library at Penn State Hazleton will be named after Mary and Bertil Lofstrom during a ceremony on September 13.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — During its meeting on July 21 in Harrisburg, Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved the naming of the library at Penn State Hazleton as the Mary M. and Bertil E. Lofstrom Library in honor of longtime campus supporters.

The approval comes after an assessment from Penn State Hazleton leadership and a recommendation from the Facilities Naming Committee.

“The naming of the library in honor of Mary and Bert Lofstrom celebrates the transformative and generous philanthropy shown by the couple over their lives and for years to come,” said Chancellor Gary M. Lawler.

A naming ceremony will be held in front of the library on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Bert Lofstrom, a native of Philadelphia, moved to the Hazleton area as a teenager and attended Penn State Hazleton before completing his degree at University Park in 1954. While earning his bachelor’s degree in commerce, he participated in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He served in the Air Force from 1954 to 1976 and retired as a colonel. While part of the Air Force, he earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University in 1964. 

The late Mary Lofstrom was a native of Canada. She passed away in 2016 and was interred earlier this year at Arlington National Cemetery. She had a 26-year nursing career in the Air Force that culminated in the rank of colonel. 

The Lofstroms met while serving in the Air Force and celebrated their 50th anniversary prior to Mary’s passing. After their retirement from the Air Force, the Lofstroms settled in Alexandria, Virginia, where Bert worked as a financial planner and was the founding partner of LaborFinders, a labor sourcing service. They retired to Vero Beach, Florida, in 1989.

The Loftstroms collected art and amassed numerous pieces of original and fine artwork, including pieces by Salvador Dali and Rembrandt, and donated pieces to Penn State. Some are housed at the Palmer Museum of Art on the University Park campus, while others are located in various areas around Penn State Hazleton’s campus.

In addition to their donations of art, the Lofstroms made other significant gifts to Penn State Hazleton, including endowing a scholarship that was established in their name. They were inducted as members of the Mount Nittany Society, the Atherton Society and the Penn State Hazleton Highacres Society. 

“Bert Lofstrom — as well as did his late wife, Mary — believes and believed strongly in the power of higher education. Bert believes that his pathway to success evolved because of his Penn State education and he wants to help other students find their way. The gift from the Lofstroms will be transformative to the Penn State Hazleton endowment and will benefit business students into perpetuity,” Lawler said.

The Lofstroms requested the establishment of scholarships for business students at Penn State Hazleton. The naming of the library in honor of Bert and Mary Lofstrom will make it the only building on the Hazleton campus to carry the name of an alumnus.