Penn State Intercom......January 17 , 2002
$6.9 million gift raises Eberly
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A $6.9 million gift from the Eberly Foundation of Uniontown will make possible a new community center for cultural, social, athletic and other events on the Penn State Fayette campus. The gift also distinguishes the Eberlys as Penn State's most generous benefactors.
The 52,000-square-foot community center will contain performance spaces, cafeteria and dining hall, fitness center, auditorium and many other features needed for large gatherings.
"The new building will serve both the campus and the community," said Campus Executive Officer Gregory Gray. "It promises to be a focal point for public events in Fayette County, and it will have an important long-term impact on the local economy. We will be able to increase the variety and scope of our programming in so many areas -- entertainment, sports, distinguished speakers and academic convocations, to name just a few."
The Eberly Foundation is headed by Robert Eberly, a 1939 Penn State graduate and Fayette County native. He is a retired bank executive and also has been involved for many years in natural gas exploration and production.
"Including this latest gift from the foundation, the total lifetime support from the Eberly family to Penn State has reached an astonishing $39 million," noted President Graham B. Spanier. "With this superb act of generosity, Bob and his family become Penn State's greatest living benefactors. Eberly philanthropy has transformed Penn State in many ways, from undergraduate scholarships to faculty chairs to new facilities, and from medicine to science to the libraries. In both breadth and depth, their support is unparalleled at Penn State. We are profoundly grateful."
Robert Eberly said that "my family and I see this building as another step by the campus to meet the needs of the surrounding community. There is a great need for this kind of building in our area. We want to encourage students, businesses and all the people of Fayette county to take full advantage of the campus's many opportunities for educational, social and cultural enrichment."
The Board of Trustees is expected to name an architect for the community center this spring. The facility is scheduled to open in the summer of 2004. It will consist of two wings that contain:
* an arena that can accommodate up to 1,500 people for stage events and 2,000 people for athletic events;
* a 500-seat auditorium;
* food services, including a 200-seat dining hall/cafeteria;
* an auxiliary gym for intramural sports;
* a fitness center and racquetball courts; and
* locker rooms and administrative offices.
In addition, there will be a series of outdoor public spaces-including an entrance courtyard and a large plaza that will be suitable for large gatherings.
Robert Eberly and his father, Orville Eberly, helped to lead the community effort that convinced the University to establish the Fayette campus in 1965. The campus enrolls about 1,130 students, 80 percent of whom are Fayette county residents. It has 160 employees and an annual budget of approximately $8.8 million.