Penn State Wilkes-Barre has received one of the largest scholarship gifts in its history from two of the University's most generous supporters, Rick and Sue Barry. The $1 million commitment from the San Rafael, California couple to establish the Rick and Sue Barry Trustee Scholarship will leverage matching funds from Penn State and help more than thirty students with financial need each year. The gift continues the Barrys' support of the Wilkes-Barre campus, where Rick, a 1980 College of the Liberal Arts graduate, began his Penn State education.
"Penn State Wilkes-Barre serves communities and families that have been hit hard by economic changes, and many of our students face extraordinary financial challenges in earning their degrees," said Dr. Charles Davis, the campus chancellor. "Scholarships are essential to keeping our opportunities affordable and accessible, and the Rick and Sue Barry Trustee Scholarship will provide flexible resources that we can direct to students with the most urgent need. It's the kind of visionary generosity that has become the hallmark of the Barrys' giving to our campus and to the University."
After earning a bachelor's degree in political science, Rick Barry pursued a career in the financial industry that included posts at Merrill Lynch, Robertson Stephens Investment Management, and other leading companies. He retired in 2009 as the managing member and portfolio manager of Eastbourne Capital Management, a California-based investment firm he founded in 1999. Sue Barry, a native of the United Kingdom, spent more than twenty years working on the ground at Heathrow Airport.
Over the last decade, Rick and Sue Barry have become leading Penn State philanthropists, with support for programs and projects at both the University Park and Wilkes-Barre campuses. Their gifts have honored several important Penn State figures, including the John R. Murphy Student Services Center, named for the former director of student and enrollment services at Penn State Wilkes-Barre who mentored Rick during his time at the campus, and the Steve Jones Student Sports Broadcasting Complex, celebrating the thirty-year friendship between Rick and the longtime Penn State play-by-play announcer, who met as students at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. They also recently endowed the directorship of the Paterno Fellows Program in the College of the Liberal Arts.
"We feel so fortunate to be able to give back to the institution that helped me to get my start in life, and we hope that through this Trustee Scholarship, we can help other students on their own paths to successful careers," said Rick Barry. "Supporting Penn State and the Wilkes-Barre campus has been deeply rewarding for both of us, and we are looking forward to meeting the undergraduates who will receive support through our endowment and learning about their ambitions for the future."
Sue Barry said, "We also hope that this gift will draw attention to the need for philanthropy at Penn State and to the important role that scholarships can play in the lives of students. There are so many ways that alumni and friends can make a difference at the University, and we were pleased to learn about the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program and the opportunity it offers to maximize the impact of our support."
Through the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program, Penn State matches 5 percent of the total pledge or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created at the $50,000 level or above, making funds available immediately for student awards. This University match, which is approximately equal to the endowment's annual spendable income, continues in perpetuity, doubling the support available for students with financial need. Scholarships are the top priority of the University's current fundraising effort, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, which aims to raise a total of $2 billion by June 30, 2014.
"The Rick and Sue Barry Trustee Scholarship has created important momentum toward Penn State Wilkes-Barre's campaign goals, and we are deeply grateful for Rick and Sue's leadership," said Davis. "Their philanthropy has so often honored others, and I am delighted that this endowment will bear their name and honor their own extraordinary contributions to the success of our campus and our students."