J. Clair Graybill Scholarship to be an investment in the future of agriculture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Gail Graybill Carson and her husband, Dr. James H. Carson, of Lititz, have donated $50,000 to create the J. Clair Graybill Scholarship in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to commemorate the life and values of Mrs. Carson's father, the late J. Clair Graybill.

The scholarship will be awarded to students in the college with demonstrated financial need, with first preference going to students who have graduated or will graduate from any high school in Lancaster County.

J. Clair Graybill was born and raised on a farm outside Manheim, where he lived and worked until his death in 2008 at age 74. In his youth, Graybill, known as "Clair," was actively involved in 4-H leadership and was an advocate for 4-H and agricultural extension programs. Those who knew him described him as an honest, hardworking individual who treated the soil, his crops, his customers, his friends and his family with the greatest of care.

Gail and James Carson credit Clair's life work in agriculture and his appreciation for Penn State as the inspiration for their gift. "Understanding the need for agricultural scientists, engineers, production specialists and agribusiness entrepreneurs, we are delighted to be able to offer the J. Clair Graybill Scholarship for the advancement of agriculture," said Gail. "We hope that many students will benefit from this fund and that they will continue to preserve and advance the excellent reputation of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences."

Clair was an ardent fan of Penn State football and wrestling. He and his wife, Ann, often went to football games with Clair's uncle, James Ammon Graybill, who graduated from Penn State in 1926, until James Graybill passed away at 100 years of age.

Although Clair was not a student at Penn State, he was a regular attendee at Ag Progress Days, and he was pleased to have both his children graduate from Penn State. His son, Jeffrey, graduated with a degree in agronomy and is currently an agronomy extension educator with Penn State Extension in Lancaster County. His daughter, Gail, earned her degree in agribusiness management in 1986. She has worked in quality assurance for Frito Lay and at a Berks County trucking company.

Gail Carson's husband, Dr. James H. Carson, graduated from Dickinson College in 1983. He earned a medical degree from Johns Hopkins in 1987 before conducting a residency at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey. Dr. Carson is an orthopedic surgeon and partner at Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster, specializing in general orthopedics with expertise in joint reconstruction, sports injuries, arthroscopy and fracture care.

Together, the Carsons run a nonprofit organization, Love.Live.Give. This includes Love Live Give Gallery and Gifts, a nonprofit retail store near Lititz that specializes in social enterprise and economic development merchandise. All profits go to support local, national and global nonprofit organizations. The organization also provides funding and opportunities for other charities working in their focus areas — Africa, animals, art, people and purpose.

"I can't think of a better way to honor the college than to give a gift in the memory of someone like Clair Graybill," said Richard Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "Pennsylvania farmers are the backbone of our state's agricultural economy. We commend the Carsons for their philanthropy and their vision for the future of the agricultural sciences, research and industry."

Penn State's alumni and friends are invaluable partners in fulfilling the University's land-grant mission of education, research and service. Private gifts from alumni and friends enrich the experiences of students both in and out of the classroom; expand the research and teaching capacity of faculty; enhance the University's ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty; and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University's colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.

Last Updated December 07, 2016