Hazleton supporters Bill and Lee Beard create new Open Doors Scholarship

HAZLETON, Pa. — Penn State Hazleton supporters E. Lee and William Beard have contributed $30,000 to fund and endow the Bill and Lee Beard Open Doors Scholarship at Penn State.

The Open Doors Scholarship Program offers a permanent 2:1 match for gifts made to help students with financial need, which means the Beards’ gift becomes $90,000 with Penn State’s match. The program will be available in its current form through June 30. After this date, the University will provide a 1:1 match to gifts of at least $50,000.

Open Doors Scholarships support students who are enrolled in one of five programs the University has created to address the financial, academic and personal challenges that Penn State undergraduates face in earning their degrees. At Penn State Hazleton, the scholarships fund the Pathway to Success Summer Start (PaSSS) program. PaSSS provides first-year students with specially designed resources to increase their likelihood of graduating on time, potentially saving thousands of dollars in tuition and fees that they would spend during an additional semester or year.

“The continued generosity of our donors toward scholarship endowments is essential to supporting students in reaching their educational goals,” said Eileen Kuperavage, director of development at Penn State Hazleton. “The Open Doors Scholarship Program enables donors to triple their impact when it comes to helping students earn a Penn State degree. Thanks to the Beards’ endowment of this Open Doors Scholarship, we can provide even more financial support to students who otherwise might not be able to afford a Penn State education.”

The Beards have been involved with the campus for 25 years. Lee Beard served as a member of the campus advisory board, as chair for the "Grand Destiny" campaign for the campus and as a vice chair of "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students." She is a member of the executive committee for the "A Greater Penn State" campaign. Bill Beard volunteered as coach of the softball team, which achieved five consecutive state championships under his leadership. They have contributed to the campus in numerous ways over the years, including the E. Lee and William W. Beard III Trustee Scholarship and the Symposium on Contemporary Women’s Issues.

“When we moved to Hazleton, one of the first things we noticed about the community was the Penn State Hazleton campus. We got to know the staff, faculty and students who make this campus so great. We got to know the value this campus, and Penn State in many ways, provides to the greater Hazleton community,” Lee Beard said.

“We realize how difficult it is for students to afford a college education. When unexpected financial issues arise, it is sad to know that sometimes students can’t complete their degree and achieve their educational goals. We have seen students sometimes struggling to transition from the campus to University Park to finish a specific degree. With the Open Doors Scholarship Program, Penn State has created a way to allow donors such as us to provide bridges for these kind of issues for students,” Beard added. “We hope these students are able to complete their Penn State education with fewer financial struggles. We hope they are able to achieve their educational and career goals. We hope when they can give back to their alma mater, they remember that donors helped them and they reach back to help future students.”

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University's historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university: Private support will keep the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impact the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about philanthropic opportunities at Penn State Hazleton and current matching programs for endowments, contact Kuperavage at 570-450-3175 and visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.