Hospitality Management alum creates scholarship to inspire student achievement

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Gary Budge, a 1972 graduate of the College of Health and Human Development, and his wife, Joanne, have established the Joanne and Gary Budge Achievement Scholarship in the School of Hospitality Management. The scholarship, which will become endowed after the couple’s lifetime with the remaining balance of their 27 charitable gift annuities, will be awarded to high-achieving students studying hospitality management.

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“We created the fund as a partial repayment for the value added to our lives by the many members of our Penn State family,” Joanne said. “We want to reward academic achievement, and establishing this scholarship helped us to do just that.”

Since Gary earned his bachelor of science degree in food service and housing administration, the couple has actively supported Gary’s alma mater. They have contributed nearly $100,000 to establish various charitable gift annuities, which have provided support for the University and secured lifetime income for the couple. They also have created a bequest to benefit the School of Hospitality Management and volunteered their time and talent to various University fundraising initiatives, all to strengthen the educational experience for students and encourage others to give back.

“Gary and Joanne’s most recent expression of generosity will play an essential role in empowering Penn Staters to grow as students and as individuals,” said Donna Quadri-Felitti, Marvin Ashner Director of the School of Hospitality Management. “For decades, the Budges’ support has helped to pave the way for our students to pursue their dreams — and their new scholarship will inspire academic achievement for generations to come.”

With their latest commitment, the Budges will utilize the remainder of the 27 charitable gift annuities they have created with Penn State to establish an endowed scholarship after their lifetimes. First preference for the Joanne and Gary Budge Achievement Scholarship will be given to full-time undergraduate students who are majoring in the College of Health and Human Development’s Hospitality Management program and who have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.5. The endowed scholarship will ensure that the Budges’ charitable gift annuities continue to serve as valuable assets and pay out income in perpetuity to support future generations of hospitality professionals.

“Philanthropy is a part of our DNA,” said Gary, who serves as vice chair of the Health and Human Development Philanthropy Council. “We believe supporting hospitality management students makes both the school and the University better, and that is a reflection upon those who pave the way.”

Both Gary and Joanne hold leadership roles in New York City's hospitality scene. The former general manager of The Algonquin Hotel, Gary currently serves as principal of the consulting firm Budge and Co. LLC. Joanne, having retired from her position as director of human resources at the Four Seasons Hotel New York in 2019, is also active in the consulting practice.

The Budges’ gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated October 29, 2020