Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility

The Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility was founded to foster a civility-enriched academic experience within the Penn State Behrend community. It provides resources for teaching, research, and co-curricular programs leading to an understanding of the global, theoretical dimensions of civility as well as to an enhancement of practical interpersonal and public communication skills.

The Origin

The Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility resulted from the gift of the late George Sample, publisher of the Corry Journal. He provided an endowment to memorialize his wife whose model of graciousness he had admired throughout his life. Long a contributor to University programs, Mr. Sample himself was a Penn State alumnus, earning the title of Behrend Alumni Fellow in 1999. Six of Samples' eight children are also Penn State alumni. This gift continues the family's commitment and devotion to the educational goals of Penn State.

The Present

The Sample Center currently provides grants to a variety of campus organizations that plan civility-related programs and/or research. These include Residence Life, the Speaker Series, Athletics, and Admissions, among others. In addition, students enrolled in related classes provide outreach services to Erie-area schools and organizations embracing the goals of civility education for students of all ages.

Grant Applications

The Center's Steering Committee will be accepting applications from any college groups or individuals seeking financial support for civility-related efforts.

  • Awards up to $1,000 will be available on an annual basis.
  • Larger grants will be considered given justifying documentation.

Grantees will be determined by a review of all applications by the Steering Committee in the spring of each year.

Please submit the Sample Center Grant Application (PDF) | (Word) in print or by email to Bill McLean.

Applications for the 2024–2025 academic year must be received by April 26, 2024.


  • Bill McLean, 2016-
  • Colleen Kelley, 2010-2016
  • Cathy Mester, 2008-2010
  • Rod Troester, 2004-2007
  • Cathy Mester, 2002-2004