A new gift of $1 million from Penn State alumnus Louis W. Schatz and the commitment of another $4.6 million through his future estate are helping to establish a center for groundbreaking research into the molecular genetics of trees.
The Louis W. Schatz Center for Tree Molecular Genetics in the School of Forest Resources will provide a unique collection of facilities, faculty and student support, educational programs and materials for the forestry program at the University Park campus and Penn State Mont Alto.
Schatz is the retired president and owner of General Plastics Manufacturing Co. of Tacoma, Wash., which he founded in 1941. The company has been cited for its contributions to the NASA space shuttle and Navy Polaris, Poseidon and Trident submarine programs. Schatz began his Penn State studies at the Mont Alto campus and earned his bachelor's degree in forestry in 1934. A native of Pittsburgh, he now lives in Pauma Valley, Calif.
Schatz is making $1 million of the total $5.6 million gift immediately available to support construction of a new forest resources building being planned at University Park; to allow urgently needed research equipment purchases; and to begin a research awards program for forestry undergraduate students.
The Schatz Center will be a fully integrated center in the School of Forest Resources consisting of multiple coordinated programs. At University Park, $1.4 million will support the center's facilities, which will include fully equipped research and teaching laboratories, an educational display area and offices for faculty and staff.
The overall gift also will add $1.2 million to fully endow a postdoctoral fellowship in tree genetics previously established by Schatz in 1997; create a $1.5 million endowment for a visiting scholars program; and provide $250,000 for the Schatz Library Collection in Tree Genetics, to ensure students and researchers have access to the most recent and complete literature on the topic.
At Penn State Mont Alto, $500,000 of the total gift will create a faculty position emphasizing forest genetics teaching, student advising and the application and field testing of concepts and materials created at the Schatz Center. An additional $500,000 will support a biannual colloquium on tree genetics that will enable researchers from around the world to come to Mont Alto to review the state of the science, propose future research and develop joint programs with industrial, government and private sources.
The forestry program at Mont Alto entered its 96th year this fall. Students at both University Park and Mont Alto will benefit from the gift's $250,000 allocation for five endowed undergraduate research awards.
The College of Agricultural Sciences named Schatz an Alumni Fellow in 1985. He also received an achievement award from the School of Forest Resources in 1982, during its 75th anniversary celebration. In addition to his recent bequest, Schatz established two endowments in the School of Forest Resources during the 1980s that support student and faculty travel to professional conferences. In 1997, he created the Schatz Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Tree Molecular Genetics, which evolved into his plans for the Schatz Center.
David and Mary Lee Jones have made a gift of $50,000 to Penn State, establishing a scholarship for communications students interning in Washington, D.C., and an endowment for the University Libraries. David Jones is a 1954 graduate with a degree in journalism and Mary Lee Jones is a 1955 journalism graduate.
The Joneses have set the pace for the College of Communications' new Communications and Democracy Semester in Washington, D.C., by creating an endowment for the David and Mary Lee Jones Washington, D.C. Scholarship in the amount of $25,000. The scholarship will provide recognition and financial assistance to students participating in the program, which was launched this fall.
The couple also has committed $25,000 to establish the David and Mary Lee Jones Libraries Program Endowment in Communications. The endowment will enable the library to provide resources and materials tailored to the disciplines of communications.
The Joneses' recent gifts are not the first examples of their generosity to Penn State. In 1989, they established the David and Mary Lee Jones Journalism Scholarship for journalism majors with financial need.
David Jones retired last December as assistant managing editor of The New York Times and editor of its national editions. He had worked as a reporter and editor for the Times in Detroit, Washington and New York since 1963. Before joining the Times, where his news direction experience included coverage of four presidential elections, Watergate and Three Mile Island, he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal.
David Jones currently serves on Penn State's Board of Trustees, and for nine years served as a member of the College of Communications' Alumni Society Board of Directors. He is a member of the President's Club, received Penn State's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1979, and was named an Alumni Fellow in 1987.
While a student at Penn State, David Jones was editor of the Daily Collegian and a member of student government, Parmi Nous and Tau Kappa Epsilon. He received an M.A. in American history from New York University in 1961, and was an Air Force officer.
As an undergraduate, Mary Lee Jones was managing editor of the Daily Collegian and copy editor for La Vie. In addition, she was president of Theta Sigma Phi, the journalism sorority, and a member of Mortar Board. After graduating from Penn State, she worked as a reporter for the Journal-Herald in Dayton, Ohio, before moving to New York to work for the Ladies Home Journal
Thanks to a pacesetting gift of $1.4 million from a couple who wishes to remain anonymous, Penn State Erie is developing 20 acres into four multi-purpose athletic fields.
The fields will be used for students involved with both the college's intramural program and varsity sports, as well as for classroom instruction.
"The intramural program is the most popular extracurricular activity at Penn State Erie," said John Lilley, provost and dean, who noted that 65 percent of all students at the college participate in at least one intramural sport.
"The gift will enhance our offerings tremendously and have a significant impact on our recruitment efforts as well."
The land, which has been cleared and seeded for four regulation soccer-sized fields, includes wetlands that have been preserved to enhance the beauty of the site as well as to provide research opportunities for students and faculty.
Bordered by Wintergreen Gorge to the west, Trout Run Gorge to the south and a mature mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, the dramatic setting will contribute to the college's park-like feeling.
The project includes the installation of lighted pathways and a bridge, restoration of the post and beam barn on Station Road for storage by athletics, a water line for irrigation and construction of golf practice tees and a putting green.
Next year, Penn State Erie will introduce track and field as a varsity sport, bringing its total number of Division III varsity teams to 14.
In addition to soccer, the 20 acres of fields will accommodate a variety of playing field configurations including softball and flag football.
Penn State Erie secured the land between Logan House and the main entrance to the campus with the purchase of the 33-acre Herrmann farm in 1984. The gift is being supplemented with an additional $285,000 from the University.
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