UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.—Penn State has named Keiko Miwa Ross, a State College resident and one of the first women to pursue a college degree in her native Japan, as its 2020 Philanthropist of the Year.
The award recognizes individuals, couples or families who have demonstrated exceptional generosity in the promotion and support of the University.
Ross was honored for her transformational philanthropy to University Park programs that serve both students and the larger State College community. Ross has committed more than $14 million to areas across the campus, including a $7.5 million gift that pushed the new Palmer Museum of Art building project past the threshold necessary to create the landmark facility.
“Through her remarkable generosity, Dr. Ross has demonstrated that it is not necessary to be a Penn State graduate to be a true Penn Stater,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “As a community member who has chosen to invest in University resources that benefit countless citizens and families in our region, she has affirmed not only her own philanthropic leadership, but also her commitment to Penn State’s land-grant mission to serve all the people of the Commonwealth. We are profoundly grateful that Dr. Ross has chosen to make State College her home, and to make Penn State a better and stronger institution. We will be proud to carry her legacy and her values forward.”
Philanthropy from Ross is having a visible impact across the University Park campus. At the University Libraries, her support has named the Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross Pattee Garden Terrace, a new student-centered study and gathering space that includes an outdoor garden; and the Dr. Keiko Miwa Ross Global News Center, which provides access to international news collections. When The Arboretum at Penn State opens its Pollinator and Bird Garden next year, a pond and observation steps in the new space will also bear Ross’s name. Ross is a supporter of WPSU-TV, and she provided essential funding for the replacement of the station’s aging transmitter system last year.
The most dramatic celebration of Ross’s philanthropy on the University Park campus will be the naming of the new Palmer Museum of Art lobby and the unique, elevated and glass-enclosed corridor that will connect the facility’s main building, which will house the museum’s galleries, and the education and administration wing, home to classrooms, offices and spaces for research and study. The connector will frame a gateway that will welcome visitors to both the museum and the adjacent arboretum while providing direct pedestrian access to the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and, from the gardens, back to the museum’s entry plaza.