New scholarship to support students studying engineering and education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ronald A. Williams, Penn State electrical engineering alumnus, and Patricia Maurer Williams, Penn State education alumna, have agreed to fund the Dr. Ronald A., Patricia Maurer, and Thomas F. Williams Scholarship in memory of Ronald Williams’ late brother, Thomas F. Williams, a 1970 Penn State mechanical engineering alumnus. This scholarship will support students in the College of Engineering and the College of Education at Penn State with an initial commitment of $5,000 a year for an undergraduate student in each college for the next five years.

“We’re thankful to the Williams family for their generosity and for their help in providing the support students need to achieve their dreams,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “This financial commitment will not only benefit individual students in both the College of Engineering and the College of Education, but also foster even more potential collaborations between our two colleges.” 

In addition, the Williams family has made an estate commitment of $800,000 to be split evenly between the College of Engineering and the College of Education with the intent to establish an endowed scholarship fund in each college. First preference will be given to graduates of their hometown high school, Somerset High School, who hope to continue their education in the College of Engineering or the College of Education at Penn State. 

“Somerset High School is an important part of our family’s story,” Ronald Williams said. “It’s where we started out on our path to enrollment and success at Penn State. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the dedicated staff at Somerset who provided a sound foundation for our future success. As a way of ‘giving back,’ we are funding these scholarships to assist deserving students in obtaining a college education in their disciplines. We also have a loyalty to and a sense of community with Penn State that were the platform for our career paths.” 

Ronald Williams earned his bachelor of science in 1964, his master of science in 1966 and his doctorate in 1970, all from the College of Engineering. Patricia Maurer Williams earned her bachelor of science in 1964 and her master of education in 1967, both from the College of Education. After obtaining his doctorate degree, Ronald Williams pursued a career in research and product development management in the medical device industry. He is the co-founder of two medical product manufacturing companies, Medbio Inc. and DLP Inc. Patricia Maurer Williams followed her passion for education as an elementary teacher, homemaker and volunteer for a children’s health charitable organization. The couple has three children. Ronald’s late brother was a longtime employee at Allegheny Power in Greensburg.

“We are grateful to be included in this generous gift from Ronald and Patricia Maurer Williams,” said Kimberly Lawless, dean of the College of Education. “These scholarships will greatly ease the recipients' financial burden of attending college and enable them to focus their time and effort on their education. This gift is yet one more example of the synergy that we have been building between the Colleges of Education and Engineering, which have created multiple collaborations over the past several years.”

The College of Engineering and the College of Education have several multidisciplinary relationships within the University — including undergraduate education students and engineering students collaborating to enhance STEM education at the elementary school level. Christine Cunningham, professor of practice in both the College of Education and the College of Engineering, was a recent joint hire to research and develop how engineering is taught from elementary school through high school.

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

Last Updated July 28, 2020