Briley family gives more than $100,000 to support student engineering groups

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Darryl and Nancy Briley pledge to give more than $100,000 in support of student organizations in the College of Engineering at Penn State. The Briley Family Student Engagement Endowment for the College of Engineering will help to draw attention to the importance of funding for student organizations and the impact of parent philanthropy on the student experience.

“Getting students to engage in meaningful projects helps them get to know the engineering curriculum more deeply,” said Peter Butler, associate dean for education in Penn State’s College of Engineering. “It also shows students, the community and the world that Penn State engineering is about reaching out and solving problems. The Briley gift is a great enabler of this type of impact.”

Darryl and Nancy Briley’s son Chris graduated from the College of Engineering in May 2017 and is employed as a mechanical engineer. He was involved in the student organization Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), which inspired the Brileys’ giving to the College of Engineering. ESW offers students the opportunity to work collaboratively on sustainability-related projects and helps to educate communities about sustainability as a broad topic. The Briley Family Student Engagement Endowment for the College of Engineering will support student-organization projects, like those implemented by ESW and Engineers without Borders, which target sustainability, innovation and societal issues.

“Chris has been involved at Penn State through various groups on campus, including Engineers for a Sustainable World and the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team. While the major student projects generally are well organized financially, it can often be more difficult to fund smaller projects and attend national conferences,” said Darryl Briley. “We have funded some of these projects in the past, and it seemed that there was need for a more permanent source of support.”

Penn State has been a special place for the Briley family since their first campus visit with Chris. They have been consistently involved at Penn State throughout their son’s time on campus, and Darryl continues to serve on the University’s Parent Philanthropy Committee. Their gift adds momentum to Penn State’s current fundraising campaign, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," which seeks to open doors to students from every economic background, create transformative learning experiences inside the classroom and out, and impact the world through innovation.

Both Darryl and Nancy Briley attended Bemidji State University. Darryl is a retired partner from KPMG LLP’s national office, and Nancy retired earlier from the software industry to raise the couple’s two sons. Chris’ brother Thomas is a nuclear engineer who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and currently works as a nuclear engineer.

The Brileys worked with the Office of Parent Philanthropy at Penn State in order to make their gift a reality. Penn State Parent Philanthropy’s mission is to engage parents in philanthropic relationships with Penn State in support of University initiatives. Parents provide generous support for every college, every campus and every unit across the University — they align their giving with their students’ area of study, area(s) of engagement, or with their own area of professional involvement or personal interest. 

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit

The Briley family has pledged more than $100,000 to support student engineering organizations at Penn State. Pictured, from left to right, are Chris, Nancy and Darryl Briley. Chris Briley is a 2017 alumnus of the College of Engineering.  Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated September 25, 2017