UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has named the John E. Morgan Foundation its inaugural Foundation Partner of the Year. The award recognizes the Morgan Foundation’s long history of philanthropy toward a wide range of programs across the University.
“The Morgan Foundation has shown extraordinary generosity over more than 20 years of giving to Penn State,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “The foundation stands out for the breadth of its philanthropy and its impact on multiple colleges and campuses, which have bolstered some of our most crucial institutional imperatives, such as increasing scholarship support, fostering academic excellence, and providing exceptional health care at Penn State Health and the College of Medicine.”
John E. Morgan, who died in 2001 at age 89, earned prominence in the textile industry with his late-1950s invention of the waffle stitch, used in the manufacture of long underwear and blankets. He sold the J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills in 1984 and retired to a second career as a philanthropist, with Penn State Schuylkill, Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics among the beneficiaries. The Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation carries on his philanthropic work.
The Morgan Foundation has directed its most substantial gifts to the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center: it gave $6 million to the Penn State Children’s Hospital Building Campaign — among the largest commitments to that campaign. Subsequently, the foundation has fostered accessibility and excellence in the College of Medicine through scholarship support totaling $3 million.
The foundation also has invested heavily in students and programs at campuses serving eastern Pennsylvania. In 1982, Morgan himself provided much of the funding for the auditorium that bears his name at Penn State Schuylkill, and since then, the foundation has twice provided funding for renovations. In 2012, the foundation created $1 million Trustee Scholarships at each of the Schuylkill, Berks and Hazleton campuses, and more recently has committed challenge grants to create scholarships supporting STEM students at the University Park, Schuylkill, Berks and Hazleton campuses, and to enable upgrades to the Penn State Schuylkill Classroom Building.