Penn Staters paying it forward

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As a student in Penn State's School of Hospitality Management, Gary Budge gained the organizational skills, sense of pragmatism and professional potential he would need to succeed in New York City's highly competitive hospitality industry. He also gained an early sense of the importance of philanthropy.

"I saw very clearly that a great deal of our success as a school was because of alumni who had given back," he said. "This ‘pay it forward' attitude was fundamental to the program."Over the past thirty years, Budge and his wife, Joanne, have stayed true to that spirit of generosity. Together, they have established numerous charitable gift annuities and a bequest to benefit the School of Hospitality Management. They have also given considerable time and talent as volunteers, working to enhance the hospitality management curriculum and encourage other Penn Staters to give back.Budge graduated from the School of Hospitality Management in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in food service and housing administration. While Joanne is not an alumna herself, she has fully embraced the University community.

Budge and his wife both hold leadership positions in New York City's thriving hospitality scene. The former general manager of The Algonquin Hotel, Budge currently serves as partner in the consulting firm Budge and Co., LLC. Joanne is the director of human resources at Four Seasons Hotel New York.As the Budges approach retirement, the many gift annuities they've established over the years are proving to be a valuable set of assets. "Neither of us have a traditional pension program, so it was important for us to think about income from a variety of sources to take care of us during our golden years," Gary explained. "The charitable gift annuities are an important piece of the puzzle."But the real benefit of their philanthropy is perhaps best measured in the lifelong relationships they've built and the sense of community they've gained."Fellow Penn Staters will show up at the hotel, and I'll know who they are just by their first name," Joanne said. "The friends we've made and the people we've interacted with have made for a truly rewarding experience.""Knowing that we, as Penn State donors, are part of a larger group working together to make the University even better — this is a very special thing," Gary said. "This is a mission that we all need to be thinking about."To learn more about how you can be part of the future of Penn State, please contact Michael J. Degenhart, Assistant Vice President, or any of the expert gift planning officers in the Office of Gift Planning at Penn State at 888-800-9170 (toll free) or

Last Updated November 20, 2014