Costellos make new $250K gift to Communication Arts and Sciences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumna Lynn Mack-Costello and her husband Joseph Costello have made a gift of $250,000 through life insurance to substantially expand their current fund supporting innovative educational opportunities for students and faculty in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences in the College of the Liberal Arts.

“As a graduate of and a current instructor in the department, I recognize the outstanding value of its degree and the very practical application and benefits the departmental courses offer for all Penn State students,” said Lynn Mack-Costello. “I am passionate about informed civic engagement, and we feel our gift will enhance the department’s abilities to respond to ongoing and changing needs of faculty and students and to sustain innovative initiatives such as the Penn State Democracy Institute and the Center for Democratic Deliberation.

“After informative discussions with the Office of Gift Planning, Joe and I believe that life insurance offers an effective vehicle to significantly leverage our gift into a much larger commitment for the future,” she noted.

The Lynn Mack-Costello and Joseph Costello Family Fund has already provided program support to Communication Arts and Sciences faculty and students, such as inspirational guest speakers in the classrooms, travel funding for students to attend professional conferences, and new technology for graduate students. The new gift also will support awards or scholarships to hard-working students in the college.

Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, said, "We deeply appreciate the generosity of Lynn and Joe in making this important gift to our college. It will enhance the education of our Communication Arts and Sciences students in perpetuity. I am so pleased that Lynn and Joe, like so many other alumni and friends, have utilized different planned giving methods such as wills, trusts and life insurance to make significant gifts to ensure a high-quality education for Penn State students for years to come.”

Lynn Mack-Costello is a 1971 graduate of Penn State with a degree in speech and went on to earn a master’s degree in rhetoric and public address at Temple University and a law degree from Pepperdine University. She had a long and successful career in business litigation, especially banking and real estate. Today, Lynn is on the faculty of the Penn State World Campus, teaching rhetoric and law and other communication and public speaking courses, which she has been doing since 2008.

In addition, Lynn is a dedicated volunteer, first serving on the Communication Arts and Sciences Alumni Board of Visitors and now on the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board, which represents more than 90,000 alumni and connects the alumni with the college to support students and faculty. She also has been a mentor to Liberal Arts students and was recognized in 2012 with the Outstanding Alumna Award by the department.

Joseph Costello is a retired vice president and deputy general counsel at Northrop Grumman. A graduate of West Virginia and Pepperdine Universities, he and Lynn live in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and have two daughters, one of whom, Kelley, is a 2009 Penn State graduate in Communication Arts and Sciences. 

The Costellos’ gift will help the College of the Liberal Arts reach its goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, a University-wide fundraising effort directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Penn State alumna Lynn Mack-Costello and her husband Joseph Costello Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 13, 2013