UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's 41st annual Renaissance Fund dinner on Nov. 29 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel honored Joel Myers, three-time Penn State alumnus; State College resident; and the founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather Inc. Attended by 250 guests, the dinner raised more than $350,000 from 217 gifts for endowed scholarships.
"I am extremely pleased to have been recognized as the 2017 Renaissance Fund honoree, but I am even more pleased that talented, hard-working students will receive a Penn State education with the support of the Joel N. Myers Family Renaissance Fund Scholarship,” said Myers. “I am deeply grateful to my friends, family, colleagues, and fellow Penn State supporters who made gifts to this important endowment. I look forward to meeting the recipients of the Joel N. Myers Family Renaissance Scholarship and seeing the great things they will achieve at Penn State and in the future.”
The annual Renaissance Fund dinner raises funds for Renaissance Scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students who have great financial need. The dinners honor community leaders, and contributions are used to endow scholarships in their names. Since the Renaissance Fund's inception in 1969, the total endowment has grown to more than $15 million. Last year, 617 Renaissance Fund scholarships were awarded to Penn State students.
A first-generation college student, Myers earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in meteorology from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 1961, 1963 and 1971, respectively. He was a Penn State faculty member for nearly two decades and an active and influential member of the Penn State Board of Trustees for 33 years. Myers continues to serve as a trustee emeritus. In 2016, he received the University’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Myers founded AccuWeather as a graduate student in 1962 and guided it to become the global leader in weather information and data analytics and a leading global digital media company. Headquartered in State College with offices around the world, AccuWeather now reaches nearly 2 billion people and serves thousands of businesses across the globe, including 245 of the Fortune 500 companies and thousands of other businesses and government agencies globally. AccuWeather serves 1,950 media companies, including radio, television and newspapers.
“It is with special pleasure that we recognize Joel Myers as this year's Renaissance Fund honoree,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Joel’s work ethic, integrity, intelligence, and commitment to the welfare of others are a model for success in business and life. State College is fortunate to have Joel as a business leader and resident, and Penn State is proud to count him as an alumnus. For years to come, the Joel N. Myers Family Renaissance Fund Scholarship will enable its recipients to follow Joel’s path toward success.”
A major philanthropist to the University, Myers has made gifts to create The Joel N. Myers Weather Center in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; scholarships in meteorology, information sciences and technology, and football; and weather-themed sculptures across the University Park campus. Within the community, Myers recently founded the Dads’ Resource Center, which raises awareness to support single fathers regarding the importance of playing an active role in the lives of their children. He also supports the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, YMCA, Jewish Community Center, and American Cancer Society.
With all his achievements, Myers said he is most proud of his seven children, who are all good friends to one another, their spouses, and nine grandchildren, who attended the Nov. 29 dinner along with his brothers, Barry and Evan, who are also executives at AccuWeather, and his fiancée, Maria Mastrodicasa.
“I see Joel Myers as a friend who helped me think more because he expected it,” said Mimi Barash Coppersmith, a Renaissance Fund board member who served alongside Myers on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. “I have admired his perception to think big and produce amazing results. His passion for life, work, weather, community, family and fun define him and his endless energy. As in Fiddler on the Roof – ‘A nice man a good man’ who will leave traces of his history not only in Happy Valley but also around the globe.”
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 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 greaterpennstate.psu.edu.
To learn more about the Renaissance Fund program, contact Kathy Kurtz in the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052.