Campus Life

Class of 2021 votes to create Student Access and Equity Fund

The Nittany Lion Shrine on Penn State's University Park campus. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s class of 2021 recently voted to create the Student Access and Equity Fund as its class gift. The fund is designed to support individuals who contribute to the diversity of the student body and who are unexpectedly in need of help to afford educational expenses not covered through financial aid.

"I cannot wait to see the class of 2021 unite in support of the Student Access and Equity Fund and the positive impact it will have on our campus and Penn State students,” said Rachel Bruning, president of the Student Philanthropy Network. “I hope that our peers are similarly excited about the gift and its purpose — ensuring that our class' legacy is one defined by our working together to create the most inclusive and equitable Penn State."

The 2021 Class Gift Committee announced the gift on Dec. 1 during #GivingTuesday. The announcement, which was shared on the @RaisePennState social media platforms, can be found here. Students with senior standing voted for their class gift from Oct. 29 through Nov. 15.

“With this gift, the legacy of the class of 2021 will be a collective dedication to ensuring that an equitable student experience at this University is possible, that our communities are inclusive, and that every Penn Stater hears their name when we call out ‘We Are Penn State,’” said Liam Parrish, executive director of the 2021 Class Gift Campaign.

In addition to remarks from Bruning and Parrish, O. Richard Bundy III, Penn State’s vice president for development and alumni relations, offered celebratory words to the class of 2021 during the announcement.

“The tradition of the class gift is about showing care for your fellow and future Penn Staters,” said Bundy. “And there may be no group of students who’ve been challenged to display that level of care for one another like you and your peers. I’m very proud to be a part of a University with such a dedicated student family.”

The first class gift was established 130 years ago with the graduating class of 1861. At their 1890 reunion, the class of 1861 presented the inaugural gift: a portrait of Penn State’s first president, Evan Pugh. This portrait can still be found on campus today hanging in Old Main.

Members of the Class Gift Campaign will be soliciting gifts through events and emails from students graduating in May, August or December 2021. The students of the 2021 Class Gift Committee include Liam Parrish, Ryan Dourand, Connor Cook and Daniel Hussain.

Those interested in donating to the 2021 Class Gift can do so by texting “ClassGift2021” to 41444. Additional class gift information can be found at the Student Philanthropy Network’s Facebook page or at @PennStateSPN on Twitter and Instagram. Questions can be directed to Brie Burdge, class gift adviser, at or 814-863-2052.

Gifts made to the 2021 Class 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 hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Last Updated April 15, 2021