For nearly 30 years, Penn State Behrend students have been receiving the John and Jane Herbert Undergraduate Research Award, which recognizes students
who demonstrate outstanding academic and research achievement while pursuing their degrees at Behrend.
The award was created by the late John and Jane Herbert and has continued to grow with support by the couple’s daughter and son and by additional donors. Today, gifts to the fund total more than $130,000.
John and Jane Herbert’s connection to Penn State Behrend dates back to the early 1960s. That's when they moved to the Erie area for John Herbert to take a vice president of operations position for what was then known as General Telephone of Pennsylvania.
John Herbert was a 1932 Penn State graduate in engineering, and his loyalty to the University was strong, said his daughter, Mary Lou (Herbert) Pae ’63.
“When they first moved to Erie, he had to drive to a high spot to be able to listen to the football games in his car because no radio stations in Erie broadcast Penn State games,” she said. That kind of commitment to supporting Penn State led him to seek out connections to Penn State Behrend when the couple settled in Erie, Pae said. He went on to become a member of the college’s Council of Fellows.
“Dad really got involved at Behrend and loved that connection,” she said.
By the time the Herberts moved to Erie, Pae and her brother, George Herbert ‘58, were grown. She was already a student at Penn State, and George was serving in the U.S. Air Force. But while neither have spent much time in the Erie area, both have continued to contribute to the John and Jane Herbert Undergraduate Research Award as a way to honor the legacy of their parents.
“I do it out of memory and respect for my parents,” said Herbert, from his home in Orchard Park, New York. Pae, who lives in State College, said she saw firsthand how a scholarship could make a difference to a student. Her husband, Dick Pae ‘62, played football and baseball for Penn State from 1958 to 1961 on an athletic scholarship.
“Because of that, I’ve always appreciated how scholarships can make a difference in students’ lives,” she said, “so I was pleased to see my parents establish the scholarship fund at Behrend, and I'm pleased that it continues to grow. To think that it is helping students meet the cost of getting a degree is very satisfying.”