Visitors to the Robert and Sally Metzgar Admissions and Alumni Center at Penn State Behrend – the “front door” to the college, and the departure point for tours of the campus – meet their guides in a two-story lobby with high windows and a double-sided fireplace. Now, the room includes a new feature: A portrait of the Metzgars, whose support has been instrumental to the college’s success.
The portrait, which was unveiled during the summer gathering of Behrend’s Council of Fellows, has been hung above the reception desk.
“Bob and Sally Metzgar have been trusted advisers, generous supporters and steadfast advocates for the college,” Behrend Chancellor Ralph Ford said. “They have played a transformative role in the growth of Penn State Behrend through the years.”
The Metzgars’ philanthropic support of Penn State dates to 1972, with an initial gift to the Levi Lamb Fund, which benefits student-athletes. The couple also has provided funding for the Energy and Fuels Research Center, the School of Theatre, WPSU-TV and the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
At Penn State Behrend, the Metzgars have supported athletics programs, the Young People’s Chorus of Erie and a variety of scholarship opportunities, including the Metzgar Leadership Scholarship. In March, Bob Metzgar established the Sally Nelson Metzgar Educational Equity Memorial Scholarship in honor of Sally Metzgar, who died in 2019.
“The scholarship will benefit students whose gender, race or ethnic identity contribute to the diversity of our student body,” Ford said. “If you knew Sally, you’d know how fitting that is. She saw the potential in every student she met and believed that their potential should be matched with opportunity.”
Bob Metzgar, a 1960 graduate of Penn State, was the owner and president of Warren-based North Penn Pipe and Supply. He is a trustee emeritus on Penn State’s Board of Trustees, having served on the board for 14 years. He was a member of the board of directors for Penn State Behrend’s Council of Fellows, which advises the college’s leaders and advocates for students and programs, for 25 years. In December, he was named director emeritus – the first member of the council to receive that recognition.
Bob Metzgar was named a University Alumni Fellow in 1996. He was honored with the University’s highest award, Distinguished Alumni, in 2012.
Sally Metzgar devoted much of her career to North Penn Pipe and Supply, serving in various roles from 1977 until her retirement in 2009. She previously worked at Bell Telephone and at the U.S. Navy’s Ordinance Research Lab. Before that, she worked as a model, appearing often in the West Penn Power family magazine.
The Metzgar Center at Penn State Behrend was made possible by a $2 million gift from the couple. The building, which was dedicated in 2010, is, for many, the first impression of Behrend. Offices in the building support core functions of the college, from financial aid and billing to transcripts and introductions to the alumni network.
“Students need different forms of support at different points in their college experience,” Ford said. “Bob and Sally Metzgar’s longtime giving has provided resources and promoted opportunities at every step in that journey.”