DALLAS, Pa. — Robert Friedman, a restaurateur and community leader in northeastern Pennsylvania, has committed $100,000 to create the Pauline “Pauly” Friedman Memorial Scholarship at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. The scholarship, named in honor of his late mother, will be given to full-time undergraduate students who are enrolled or who plan to enroll at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, with a preference to students interested in pursuing a degree in hospitality management.
“My mother was a Penn State graduate who always wanted to give back to her alma mater and other schools in the area,” Robert Friedman said. “My parents were very philanthropic, and my mother was really the impetus behind my family’s support of the Friedman Observatory and Art Gallery on the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus.”
Pauline “Pauly” Friedman and her husband, Sidney, have been longtime supporters of Penn State Wilkes-Barre, including gifts toward the Friedman Observatory and Friedman Art Gallery. They also supported numerous organizations throughout northeastern Pennsylvania and served on boards across the Wyoming Valley. Pauly Friedman was a Penn State alumna who graduated in 1952 with a degree in education. She served on Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s campus advisory board and also was a recipient of Penn State's Philip Philip Mitchell Alumni Service Award, which recognizes an individual who has significantly contributed to the area of public service by sharing or volunteering his or her talent, time and resources on behalf of the University.
Pauly Friedman passed away in 2008. Sidney Friedman, who recently marked his 94th birthday, spends winters in Florida and the remainder of his time in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Robert Friedman is the founder and owner of the Friedman Hospitality Group, which operates nine restaurants and event venues in northeastern Pennsylvania. He and his father previously operated Friedman Electric, which Robert Friedman sold in 2007 when he entered the hospitality business. He has two daughters, one of whom is studying business marketing at University Park.
“This area has been good to me throughout my years in business. For my family, it’s always been about giving back,” Robert Friedman said. “We like to give back to the area where we live. I plan on being here for the rest of my life.”
He said his parents appreciated that both the observatory and art gallery that bear their name are open to the public.
“My mom was always a supporter of the arts in our area. They thought having something like that not only for the students, but also for the public, would be a great asset for the community,” he said.
The Friedman Observatory is open to the public during clear weather conditions each Friday at 8 p.m. Visitors to the observatory are able to view the night sky through a 16-inch Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain LX200 telescope. The Friedman Art Gallery opened as part of the Abram Nesbitt Academic Commons in 2008. The gallery features the work of students and local artists, as well as private collections.
Gifts from Robert Friedman and others will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.