UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As longtime friends of William A. Schreyer, Bob and Sandy Poole understood well the love the late Merrill Lynch CEO had for Penn State and the belief he held that its students would go on to influence the world.
More than 20 years after the University’s honors program was re-named in Schreyer’s honor, the Pooles remain equally inspired by those students and their friend’s philanthropy.
The Pooles have established the Poole Family Honors Scholarship, pledging $1 million in support of Schreyer Honors College students who enroll in the college in their sophomore or junior years.
The University, as part of its current campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” and the recently concluded Leadership Gift Scholarship Matching Program, will make a one-time 1:1 matching contribution in the amount of $1 million.
The Pooles’ gift, endowed in perpetuity, will offer assistance to Scholars who have financial need and are among the more than 300 Scholars who enroll annually as current Penn State students after their first year.
“Financial assistance makes a significant difference for our Scholars, particularly for those who joined the college after their first year,” said Schreyer Honors College Dean Peggy A. Johnson. “This generous endowment from Bob and Sandy Poole, longtime friends and supporters of the college, will go a long way in continuing to help these Scholars reach their academic and career goals.”
The Pooles have previously supported Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College through the Poole Travel Fund for the Schreyer Honors College and the Robert and Sandra Poole Schreyer Honors College Scholarship in Engineering and have supported a number of additional initiatives at the Schreyer Honors College since its founding in 1997.
“We were both lucky in the sense that we had great parents, and neither of our parents could really afford to send us to college,” Sandy Poole said. “We had to do it the old-fashioned way where you just go out and work and you did what you have to do. This (scholarship) gives those students who are out there working hard and trying to get ahead a little bit of help.”
Bob Poole earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Smeal College of Business in 1972. He is a Distinguished Alumni Award winner (2006) and is the chairman of the Schreyer Honors College’s External Advisory Board. He and Sandy were close friends with Schreyer and remain so with his wife, Joan, and their daughter DrueAnne and her family.
“One of the things Bill felt strongly about was that the world was shrinking in the sense that you needed to have global experiences,” Bob Poole said. “He believed that these students, when they graduated, were going to impact the world from a leadership standpoint.”
This 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 hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.