Private Giving
Penn State Intercom......October 19, 2000

Department of English receives gift
of $300,000 to endow poetry center

GrandDestinyColorSibyl Barsky Grucci of State College has donated $300,000 to the Department of English to endow the Joseph L. Grucci Poetry Center. The endowment will support the establishment and maintenance of the center, a place Grucci envisions as a repository for creative writing. The center also will house many of the Gruccis' personal possessions.

Grucci is the widow of Joseph Grucci, the first professor to teach a poetry writing workshop at Penn State.

The Grucci center will be in Burrowes Building on the University Park campus, the home of the Department of English. The endowment's funds will be used not only to maintain the physical space for the center, but to enhance a collection of materials related to the writing of fiction and poetry; to fund readings and visiting writers; and to support graduate student fellows to manage the center.

The Gruccis arrived in State College in 1950, when Joe Grucci was recruited from the University of Pittsburgh's English department. His poetry workshop was a first at Penn State, and was a class in which the students' responses to one another's poems were as important as Grucci's own criticism of the work.

The class led Grucci to found the literary journal PIVOT. For many years, the journal carried only the work of his students. It eventually grew to become a force in American poetry and is still published today as a journal of contemporary international poetry by a group of editors in New York City.

Sibyl Barsky Grucci is a sculptor, and her work has been exhibited around the country. At Penn State, her bust of Fred Lewis Pattee, considered the founder of the study of American literature, graces the lobby of the library named after him. Another of her sculptures, "Dancer," will have a permanent home in the Grucci Poetry Center.

Many of Joseph Grucci's books also will reside there, including rare first editions, numerous journals and collections, issues of PIVOT and three collections of poems by Eugene McCarthy, the man more famous for his Senate career than his verse. The McCarthys and the Gruccis were friends, and Joe Grucci is mentioned in one of McCarthy's books.

Liberal arts' oldest alumnus
endows new scholarship

Charles Dewey Prutzman of Forest Hills, N.Y., has pledged $100,000 to endow an undergraduate scholarship in the College of the Liberal Arts. At 102 years of age, Prutzman is thought to be the college's oldest living alumnus.

Known as a philanthropist in his home town of Palmerton, near Reading, Prutzman has long lent a hand to charities and organizations in the Lehigh Valley, as well as to his fraternity, Delta Upsilon, in which he has held numerous positions.

The scholarship, set up so that students from the Palmerton area have first consideration, is intended to help deserving students studying in any area of liberal arts.

After graduating from Penn State in 1918, Prutzman enlisted in the U.S. Army and soon had duties in officer training, where he remained until the Armistice. He attended Yale Law School, and after graduating joined the New York law firm of Chadbourne, Hunt, Jaeckel and Brown, where he worked until 1939. That year, he became vice president and general counsel, assistant chairman of the board of directors and executive committee member, all at Universal Pictures in California.

After his retirement in 1950, Prutzman traveled the world and served in Delta Upsilon's national organization, at one time holding the office of national president. In 1980 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by Penn State.

Prutzman is one of five brothers to graduate from Penn State. His son and daughter both also earned Penn State degrees, as have several of his grandchildren.