Penn State Behrend Chancellor Ralph Ford and his wife, Melanie Ford, assistant teaching professor of computer science and software engineering, were first-generation college students, so they have a personal understanding of the importance of supporting students in achieving their goals of a college education.
That's why the Fords decided to pledge $50,000 to create an endowment that would directly aid Penn State Behrend students who are most in need of scholarship funds. In a show of support, a group of alumni, faculty, and friends matched the Fords’ gift.
In all, the Fords and eight additional donors contributed a total of $100,000 to fully fund the Dr. Ralph M. and Melanie R. Ford Trustee Scholarship, which Penn State will match at an established percentage every year in perpetuity. Since the University’s matching funds began immediately with the Fords’ gift, several students have already benefited from scholarships beginning in the fall of 2017.
“We feel strongly about the importance of providing access to higher education because we represent the first generation in our own families to have that opportunity,” Ralph Ford said. “We wanted to create a way to help future generations of students learn, explore and succeed at Behrend and in the world after graduation.”
“Ralph and I believe firmly in the value of a Penn State Behrend education and in the tremendous opportunities students have here to succeed,” Melanie Ford said, “and it’s a great feeling to have friends and colleagues who share our commitment to Behrend and its students join us in creating this endowment.”
The establishment of endowed scholarships, through singular and group efforts, is one of a number of ways Penn State alumni, friends, faculty, and staff can support the University.
To learn more about giving opportunities, contact Kevin Moore at 814-898-6159 or [email protected].