Donors continue to 'Open Doors' for students at Penn State DuBois

Program tops $1 million in scholarships; deadline extended

Open Doors Scholarship donors David and Deborah Ross. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

DUBOIS, Pa. — Donors have contributed more than $420,000 to the Open Doors Scholarship Program at Penn State DuBois, for a total impact of $1.2 million. The unprecedented program offered by Penn State enables donors who make a minimum commitment of $30,000 — payable over five years— to establish a scholarship and leverage a 2:1 University match. This means Penn State will match the donor's initial $30,000 pledge with $60,000 from the University, creating a $90,000 endowment.

"An opportunity to make this large of an impact through philanthropy has never before been offered at Penn State," said Penn State DuBois Director of Development Jean Wolf. "Donors can see their gift triple in impact, creating a legacy for themselves through supporting the education of our students." 

Illustrating how vital that impact is are studies that have found only 50 percent of students from low-income households graduate in six years. Open Doors Scholarships support students who are enrolled in one of five programs the University has created to address the financial, academic and personal challenges that Penn State undergraduates face in earning their degrees. At Penn State DuBois, 90 percent of campus students have a need for financial aid. Though $450,000 in scholarship dollars is currently awarded annually, many students remain in need. The average unmet need per student is over $7,000 a year.

Symmco Foundation, a charitable organization and frequent supporter of the campus, has established an Open Doors Scholarship with a gift of $30,000. The foundation has roots in Symmco Inc., a powder metal manufacturer in Sykesville, Pennsylvania.

Symmco Trustee John Bean said, "The students of today are the foundation on which our society is built. Specifically the students served by the DuBois campus of Penn State do, and will, provide the leadership in our community. Education provides a basis for understanding, and advancement of our society, by exposing students to new or expanded thoughts. Our company is a citizen of the DuBois community and benefits directly from a better educated work force."

Bean continued, "Literature is filled with examples of individuals who have moved to be better able to serve their community by the ability and privilege of education. Their presence in the community and contribution to the community is payment enough. This does not minimize the contribution that the educational institution makes to the community in a social, educational and intellectual way. We are better off with Penn State here."

Another donor to establish an Open Doors Scholarship with a gift of $30,000 is long-time campus supporter Charles Snapp. A 1963 graduate of Penn State, Snapp began his college career at Penn State DuBois, going on to earn a bachelor of science in business administration degree. He worked as an auditor for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue for 30 years, retiring in 1994. He has established or supported numerous other funds at the campus over the years, including the Charles E. and Charlotte J. Snapp Memorial Trustee Scholarship in memory of his parents, the Mable R. Snapp Trustee Scholarship in memory of his aunt, and continues to support funding sources for youth programs.

David and Deborah Ross also recently created the David S. Ross and Deborah M. Ross Open Doors Scholarship with a gift of $30,000. They did so, they said, to encourage and help local students who have a strong motivation to work and learn, but who might lack the funds to achieve an education on their own. They said they have a particular interest in helping students in engineering, and other science- and technology-related fields. David Ross grew up on a dairy farm in Jefferson County. He attended Penn State DuBois for two years, before moving on to University Park to continue studies in agricultural engineering. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. Deborah Ross worked full time in addition to raising a child while she earned her bachelor's degree. She is an information technology coordinator at the University of Maryland Extension.

This Open Doors Scholarship Program will continue in its current form until June 30, 2018. After this date, the minimum gift level to establish an Open Doors Scholarship will increase from $30,000 to $50,000, and the match will be reduced from 2:1 to 1:1. For more information, contact Director of Development Jean Wolf, at 814-372-3038 or, or visit

Gifts from Penn State's 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, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university: Private support will keep the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impact the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit

Last Updated July 25, 2018