A $1 million gift from Penn State alumnus William E. Leonhard and his wife, Wyllis, will establish two new donor-advised funds in the College of Engineering.
One fund will be named in the couple's honor while the second will honor their son, Richard, a 1966 Penn State aerospace engineering graduate, and his wife, Marion. Both funds will be used at the discretion of the College of Engineering's dean in consultation with a representative of the donor's family.
Dean David Wormley said funds from the gift could support "targets of opportunity" in the college. Possibilities include supporting student educational projects and activities, equipping and maintaining teaching and research laboratories, and curriculum development.
William Leonhard is the retired chair and chief executive officer of the California-based Parsons Corp., where he worked for many years, following a 28-year career in the Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers.
Well-known advocates of engineering education, the Leonhards have made a significant impact on engineering at the University. They have endowed the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education, the William Leonhard Chair in Engineering, the William E. Leonhard Professorship in Engineering, and most recently, the William and Wyllis Leonhard Honors Program in Engineering.
In recognition of their generous support and dedication to the welfare of Penn State, the University's Board of Trustees named the newest engineering building in their honor in November 1993. The Leonhard Building was formally dedicated in October 1999.
In 1982, William Leonhard was elected into the National Academy of Engineering and was named a Penn State Distinguished Alumnus. In 1988, he was honored as a Penn State Alumni Fellow. He earned his B.S. from Penn State in 1936 and an M.S. from MIT, both in electrical engineering.
Wyllis Leonhard has made her family and community her career. This has involved raising their three children, spending thousands of hours volunteering in scouts, PTAs and at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., and keeping their home intact during the 37 moves they've made during the course of their marriage.
The University invests endowed gifts and uses part of the annual income for the purposes designated by the donors. The remaining income is returned to the principal to protect it from inflation.
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