Ag Alumni Council alumnus endows Open Doors Scholarship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Capt. Kenneth R. Haas, of Oakton, Virginia, a retired United States Navy officer and a 1953 Penn State dairy science alumnus, has paid tribute to his alma mater by establishing the Haas Family Scholarship in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The gift is part of "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," the University’s five-year, $1.6 billion fundraising campaign. In making his pledge, Haas took advantage of the University’s First-Time Endowed Scholarship Donor Matching Program, which doubled the value of his pledge through a one-to-one immediate and permanent match. The program will continue until June 30, 2021, or until available matching funds have been expended.

Preference for the Haas Family Scholarship will be given to a full-time undergraduate student in the food science program who demonstrates financial need.

Through the Class of 1953 Reunion Gift, Haas and his classmates contributed funds for display cases in the Food Science Building, completed in 2006, which was dedicated and renamed in 2014 as the Rodney E. Erickson Food Science Building. Over the course of several decades, Haas also has made contributions to Penn State Athletics, the Penn State Blue Band (College of Arts and Architecture), the Four Diamonds Fund (Penn State Hershey Medical Center), and other University organizations.

“I’m happy to take advantage of the University’s matching gift program when establishing the scholarship,” Haas said. “It means more students will receive the financial help they need to fulfill their goals in the College of Agricultural Sciences.”

Haas said he is particularly proud to be part of a long legacy of family members who served on the Alumni Council of the Penn State Alumni Association. He was a member of the Alumni Council from 1998 to 2003; his wife Marilyn, also a 1953 graduate, served from 2004 to 2010; his son, Delta Airline Capt. Kenneth Haas Jr., class of 1980, served from 2010 to 2016; and his daughter-in-law Elizabeth "Betsy" Park Haas, a 1980 alumna, was elected to the council in 2016. 

Private gifts from alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence is focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the doors to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit

Last Updated November 15, 2017