UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Outreach and Online Education will hold an event to raise funds for the Penn State World Campus Veterans Education and Advancement Fund from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center.
The VEAF was created by Al Matyasovsky, retired program manager for the Penn State Office of Physical Plant who is best known for the Trash to Treasure program, and his wife, Sharon, to benefit active members of the United States military, veterans and immediate family members who are enrolled in classes through Penn State World Campus.
Staff Sgt. Kevin J. Zedek said earning a degree was always his goal, but had been difficult throughout his U.S. Army career — especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He said the operational tempo allowed little time for a personal life or education.
“When I was assigned as an Army instructor, I began looking for a school to attend and Penn State had always been a dream of mine — learning online made it possible,” Zedek said. “After applying to Penn State World Campus, my adviser suggested I submit an application for a military scholarship. The money has helped me.”
While serving in the U.S. Army, Sgt. 1st Class Jayson D. Price said he was reassigned and had to move twice while enrolled through Penn State World Campus. He was able to continue his studies online and earn an associate degree in information sciences and technology and is working on a bachelor’s degree in security risk analysis.
“Earning degrees has helped me to advance my military career as a security manager and open new military positions,” Price said. “The military scholarship has assisted me by supporting the needs and requirements for each course I have completed, including the purchase of a desktop computer specifically designed for online education.”
Matyasovsky said he and Sharon started the VEAF with $20,000 in honor of their parents.
“Both of our fathers are veterans and our mothers taught us about family and community responsibilities,” Matyasovsky said. “The fundraiser is about bringing the community together to support members of the military, both active duty and veterans, who have put themselves in harm’s way to preserve our way of life and to recognize the value of an education and a degree from Penn State.”
The inaugural fundraising event will feature several speakers including Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour, Sue Paterno and Steve Jones as the emcee. There will be performances by the Penn State Glee Club and the Penn State School of Theatre.