Your Donation at Work
"We enact our values through the decisions we make and the actions we take. The value of access, especially access to higher education and access to a public research library’s resources, motivates and energizes me as a library leader. It's clear that this value also motivates and energizes our supporters because of the actions they take. We celebrate their generous philanthropy as it enables Penn State Libraries to reach the highest levels of excellence in our services, collections, and personnel."
- Dean Faye A. Chadwell
WORKING TOWARDS DIGITAL EQUITY: THE MARY O'NEILL MARSH TECH ACADEMY ENDOWMENT
Penn State and libraries have always been important to Mary Marsh, who grew up as an avid reader in State College.
Mary graduated from Penn State in 1969 with a degree in law enforcement and corrections. During her time here, she worked at the Health and Human Development (HHD) Library, seeing first hand how important library services are to students.
Mary credits her work at the library with her choice of careers. It was through her association with the HHD library that she became aware of the newly created law enforcement and corrections program. “The program sounded very interesting to me, so I switched majors. My rewarding career in the criminal justice system came out of that.”
A longtime supporter of Penn State, Mary enjoys “supporting students and doing what (she) can to make their lives easier.” When she learned about the Penn State Tech Academy, she was all in, noting that it was a program she would have needed if she were a student. “ I am not very skilled in IT things, and could benefit from the Tech Academy now! In today’s world, IT skills are essential and will be even more so in the future. Students enter college with varying degrees of exposure to technology and the Tech Academy can help level the playing field for them.” A service of the University Libraries, the Tech Academy provides a basic introduction to the essential and freely available technology students will need to be successful at Penn State. The Tech Academy has seen more than 10,000 students enrolled in its programming at 19 campuses and five academic colleges. The goal of the program is to achieve digital equity among students as they learn and navigate new technologies for learning.
Visit the article written by Cori Biddle and Bonnie Imler, librarians at Penn State Altoona, Technology training for first-year students: An answer to questions asked at library service points for an in-depth overview of this valuable resource.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: PHIL AND SUSAN GRESH
Penn State has a special place in the hearts of Phil and Susan Gresh. During their time at Penn State, they met on a blind date at a football game and married three years later. Phil graduated from the College of Liberal Arts and Susan graduated from the College of Health and Human Development, so giving to the Penn State Libraries is considered neutral ground. “We have been coming back to Penn State for a long time and have been involved in many different ways over the years,” said Phil. “Eventually we went and met Sue Kellerman (Judith O. Sieg Chair for Preservation and Head of Preservation, Conservation, and Digitization), and the rest is history.”
Along the way, the Gresh's have given to various areas at the Library, “We try to find one thing that we feel will make a difference. It doesn’t have to be big, but something that will make a difference in either the students’ lives or at the Libraries in general,” said Susan.
Most recently, Phil and Susan supported the Conservation Centre through the acquisition of a new microscope. As a teaching aid, the Olympus CX43 RF microscope is a high-quality imaging device that is highly customizable with different lighting units, polarization fibers, and magnification objectives to fit the University Libraries’ preservation and conservation research needs. “Last fall we saw a demonstration of the microscope, which was incredible. They had staff and interns participating, it was pretty interesting. We walked out, looked at each other and said,'They need that' We thought it would be a great addition to the work they do there,” said Phil. “It was high-tech, it could move them in a different direction, help them do what they do, and help students and interns.”
Presently, the microscope is being used to examine paper fibers and biological specimens, allow student interns to research various conservation materials, enlighten staff on the composition of linen, cotton, silk, and other textile fibers used in the makeup of a book, and much more. The microscope is also equipped with a camera, which allows conservation and preservation specialists to show what they are examining to a larger audience of students.
INVESTMENT IN OUR FUTURE: THE PRYSTOWSKY SCHOLARSHIP
Passionate Penn Staters Eric and Bonnie Prystowsky met at Penn State in 1966 and still consider Penn State a very special place. “Bonnie graduated from The College of the Liberal Arts, and I from The Eberly College of Science,” said Eric Prystowsky. But, both of us spent many hours together in the library. The library became an area of common interest to us then, and a good way for us to give back to Penn State now.”
Read More about the Prystowsky Scholarship
The Prystowskys have a long history of giving back to Penn State, especially the University Libraries, but this year, they started something new. Eric and Bonnie created the Library’s first scholarship to support our work-study students. The Eric and Bonnie Prystowsky Scholarship is designated for Penn State student applicants who are part-time Libraries' employees who also receive a federal work-study grant. The Prystowsky Scholarship awardees must also have achieved or demonstrated the potential for academic success. This scholarship is the first of its kind to be created specifically to support Libraries' work-study students, 95% of which are located at a Commonwealth Campus. The Prystowskys shared, “Our hopes are that the students will be able to pursue their academic interests in an easier way with this latest scholarship.”
Scholarships are the best way to keep a Penn State education within reach for students whose financial resources may be limited but whose potential is limitless. Partnerships with heartfelt purpose and intent, like this one with Eric and Bonnie, sustain our promise to provide access to resources that empower capable, hard-working students, regardless of their financial well-being, for lifetimes of success - with degrees that are both affordable and world-class. Our goal is for every Libraries work-study student to receive a scholarship.
DONOR SPOTLIGHT: ROBERT F. GUENTTER, JR., '82 BUS, '83 MPA
“I went through grad school and somebody paid for my schooling. What I learned later in life is that the University didn’t give me the money, somebody paid for that tuition, and I never had the chance to thank whoever paid for that. Doing this award is my way of saying thank you to the person or group that helped me get my start. It’s my way of giving back.”
Volunteer Development Board chair, Scott Steinhauer, 81 Business, caught up with Rob Guentter via Zoom to learn more about him and his decision to give to the University Libraries. As it turns out, they have a few things in common, including their small-town Pennsylvania roots, solid work ethic, and their degree from the same college, just one year apart.
Rob’s path to Penn State and the Libraries began on a trip with his parents to Walt Disney World when it first opened. Rob was fascinated with the monorail and from that moment decided to pursue a career in public transit. Penn State was not his first choice but turned out to be the best one. Rob started in the summer and from day one, he worked hard, spent a lot of time in the library, and made his own opportunities, including landing a job at CATA (Centre Area Transportation Authority) and getting a scholarship for his master’s degree in Public Administration.
Guentter’s gift endowed (will fund cash awards in perpetuity) the annual Robert F. Guentter, Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award. Dozens of students submit their theses along with their research process, and a jury selects the three finalists who present their findings for a chance to win. Rob and his son Alex were on campus for the 2022 event, and loved hearing the students present their exciting and ground-breaking research.
One thing Rob’s dad always advised him was to ‘leave things better than the way he found them.’ Through your kindness and philanthropy, Rob, you have certainly made the Libraries a better place for our students. Thank you!
Photo: Dr. Janelle Guentter and Robert Guentter
A PASSION TO PAY IT FORWARD
"In 1979, I borrowed $100 from an emergency student loan fund. That was a huge amount of money to me at the time! I had no idea how I'd pay it off in 30 days, but I did. It allowed me to buy a book and art supplies that I desperately needed to stay in school that term. I've never forgotten that help! I vowed then that I would give back to the University someday to help keep at least one other kid in school the same way. I'm very happy that I've begun to do this!"
After years of consistent giving, Scott Warrington (’79, Liberal Arts) was recognized as a 2021 Library Leader and invited to join the ranks of fellow philanthropists who have given $25,000 or more to the University Libraries. Scott was honored to receive this recognition and wants to increase his giving so he can help as many students as possible. For him, it’s deeply personal and goes back to when he was that Penn State student who needed to borrow $100 - and now, he's paying it forward exponentially as a generous donor.
Scott is helping many, many students complete their Penn State degree through the “Scott C. Warrington Textbook and Educational Resources Endowment."
Because of Scott's generosity, more books can be purchased every year and added to Libraries' Course Reserves for students to borrow – saving them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Inspired by Scott's story to help students? Want to get more involved with the Libraries? Have a personal story to share? Contact Bob Darrah at email@example.com to share your passion to pay it forward.
DONOR COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
The inimitable Sue Paterno, ’62 Lib Arts, Vice-Chair of the University Libraries Development Board, recently spoke with fellow Libraries supporter Lily McGovern, ’71 Lib Arts, and learned they have more in common than a shared love of the University Libraries...
Read More about Sue Paterno's interview
S: Why did you choose Penn State?
L: It was within budget. There were three of us, and all of us were in college at the same time. The other reason was I fell in love with the campus. Growing up in a small town in central Pennsylvania, I wanted to go to a place with more different people. I wanted to get out and see more.
S: Why did you start going to the Library/working there?
L: I was in the Library Club in high school and the high school librarian was also the county librarian. She was part of a drive that actually instituted the first public library in Juniata County. So, as a Library Club member, I filed cards, did check-outs, shelved books and then I started working at the County Library when I turned 16 and could drive to get to work. I knew I wanted to be a librarian when I came to Penn State.
S: So you hit the jackpot when you came here (University Park)?
L: Oh yeah, I used the Library a lot and thank goodness for the reserve books, the things professors put on reserve. That’s one reason I’ve always earmarked my money for the undergraduate library. It saved me so much money when I was a student.
S: Where did you work at the Library?
L: I was behind the scenes. I think pulling ILL (inter-library loan) and other books from the stacks and doing photocopies of things being put on reserve. There was a strict limit on how many hours you could work as a student. I spent more time using the typewriters at the Library than actually working in Pattee. I didn’t own a typewriter and you needed to type your papers. I didn’t work there long because I needed to make more money. When my roommate started working at the Char Pit, I started there and could get as many hours as I needed.
S: Anything else you want to say?
L: I’m really glad to see that through all the changes and through the years, that the Library is still the heart of the learning experience. Even if you don’t have to physically come to the Library to get the writings, the thoughts, the data, the whatever it is you need, that the Library is there making it accessible, helping people make sense of it and use it, and using all the new technologies. The Library is the one place on campus that’s open hours that other things aren’t open. It’s the place you can go to and always get help. And that’s what has kept the Libraries at the center of everything. Libraries want to connect all that knowledge. They’re the storehouse of that knowledge in one form or another. They want to make it accessible and usable to everybody – and that has not changed over the centuries. I’m glad to see it continue. It’s a Library to be proud of and I believe in the Library.
Photo: Lily with her mother Angelina Miller, who's always been a central figure in her life
FROM BEDNAR INTERN TO FUTURE LIBRARIAN
“During my time at the Penn State Libraries, I was able to collaborate meaningfully across the library and the University. By expanding my network of collaboration, I was able to plan successful events which fostered an environment of open sharing and collective knowledge creation.” – Lily Murray, Student Engagement and Outreach Bednar Intern, 2018-2020
Lily Murray, who earned her B.A. in May 2020 from the Schreyer Honors College, was the Student Engagement and Outreach Bednar Intern from 2018-2020. In this role, Lily organized and led many outreach events, leveraging her background and undergraduate studies in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to inform how she approached planning her events. Throughout her internship, she focused on using her knowledge and connections to create meaningful experiences for participants to promote critical thinking around information creation and using library resources.
Lily hosted three Wikipedia Edit-a-thons, a Special Collections pop up exhibit displaying local queer history, led multiple book clubs with a student club, created engaging leisure reading displays, organized two zine workshops, becoming an active and vital participant within the University Libraries. In preparing for these events, Lily relied heavily on collaboration with other departments, which allowed her to gain a deep understanding of the University Libraries organizational structure.
Because of the generosity of the Bednar Internship Program (funded through an endowment by Donald Hamer and Marie Bednar), Lily was able to have a hands-on introduction to librarianship that allowed her to not only build her skillset, but inspired her decision to pursue a graduate degree. Lily is just one of many students who benefitted from the 20-year existence of this important internship program. Students like Lily have been able to leverage their classroom knowledge in meaningful ways within an academic library setting – and soar to new heights as a result. .
Currently, Lily is pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She hopes to work in an academic library once she finishes her degree.
Marion Mackinnon’s Gift Leads the Way for Students With Disabilities
"As an international student who is blind and pursuing a Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology, I am deeply indebted to University Libraries’ Adaptive Technology & Services. All tactile graphs as well as alternative text materials required for my course work are always provided to me in a timely manner, making my academic experience very enjoyable. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who have supported me –giving me the strength to not give up but to keep moving forward." -Jooyoung Seo.
The University Libraries’ Marion MacKinnon Adaptive Technology and Services (ATS) facilitates inclusive access for differing students’ needs and disabilities. The private and quiet space gives students the opportunity to excel in their coursework with the technologies and assistance needed for them. The main goal of this service is to make textbooks, syllabi, and other materials for courses accessible and readable to all students.
Because of the kind generosity of Marion MacKinnon, ATS provides a unique space in Pattee Library comprised of private study rooms, extensive software, and adaptive resources – all overseen by a caring team of experts. Thanks to donor support, ATS is able to provide students with a wide range of software and hardware needed to succeed in the classroom. These services and resources allow students the independence and confidence to excel during their time at Penn State..
ATS also allows students to borrow different devices during the school year. There are graphic calculators that read aloud the numbers and solutions for visually impaired students. ATS provides a printer that prints tactile graphics and maps for visually impaired students when a visual is too hard to describe in words. This tactile graphic gives students the ability to feel the image in order to understand it better.
Jamilyn Houser, Alternative Text Specialist, assists in creating and distributing materials to students who use the services. She converts textbooks, exams, and other reading material into the appropriate forms for students.
The services support students who have registered with Student Disability Resources (SDR) in the office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity. These students have access to the space 24/7 with the use of their student ID cards. Staff makes it comfortable and welcoming for students to work in the space and ask questions.
Want to learn more? Please contact Jamilyn Houser, firstname.lastname@example.org.