Intercom Online......September 14, 2000

Private Giving

Gift for student aid boosts
couple's giving to $10 million

By Anne Danahy
University Relations

William L. and Josephine Berry Weiss, alumni and longtime supporters of the University, recently pledged $3 million for student aid in the Colleges of Engineering and the Liberal Arts. Their pledge brings the total of the Weisses' commitments to the University to $10 million.

William Weiss, chairman emeritus of Chicago-based Ameritech, an information and communication management company, is a 1951 graduate in industrial engineering and has served on the board of trustees since 1994. He also served as vice chair of leadership gifts for Penn State's Grand Destiny campaign, which aims to raise $1 billion in private support during the seven-year period ending June 30, 2003.

Jo Weiss is a 1950 graduate with a degree in the liberal arts.

The Weisses directed their gift to two programs they had previously established: the Breakthrough Scholarship program and the William L. and Josephine Berry Weiss Graduate Scholars Program. In the 2000-01 academic year, 24 students will receive Breakthrough Scholarships and 14 graduate students, including six who are working on their dissertations, will be named Weiss Scholars. Over the period of the gift, 82 graduate and 94 dissertation scholarships will be awarded, and approximately 75 undergraduate students will receive four-year Breakthrough Scholarship awards.

The Breakthrough Scholarships provide financial support to first-year students studying liberal arts or engineering, who show promise of academic success and leadership potential and who have financial need. They may be renewed for a total of eight semesters. The Weiss Graduate Scholarships also provide support to students in liberal arts and engineering.

After graduating from Penn State, Bill Weiss went on to work for the Bell Telephone Co. of Pa., rising through the company's management ranks to become a vice president in 1973. In 1976 he became operating vice president of Wisconsin Telephone and went on to hold several executive positions until becoming chairman and CEO of Ameritech, from which he retired in 1994. Weiss has served on several corporate boards and has been recognized for his involvement and leadership in civic affairs.

Jo Weiss has been active in many civic and educational groups including serving as a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Child Care Society, the Women's Board of Northwestern University, the Adler Planetarium Astronomy Museum board, and the President's Council of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Their previous support to the University includes establishing faculty fellowships in engineering and the liberal arts, support for University Libraries, the Josephine Berry Weiss Chair in the Humanities and scholarships for financially needy students.

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