Evening of Discovery Campaign Kick-off Event

Bryce Jordan Center
Friday, April 20, 2018, 6:30 PM

Follows opening performance of “The Future’s Right in Front of Me.”

Good evening. Please join me in thanking our incredible musical theatre students for that inspiring start to tonight’s activities.

The performance beautifully captured the moment...and the potential...yes, the future’s right in front of us.

There’s no limit to what can happen when more than 673,000 Penn State alumni, and thousands of our friends, faculty, staff and students unite.

We see that power in everything from the Dance Marathon to our top 1% in the world academic ranking to a white out that sends the University of Michigan football team limping home.

Penn Staters are unstoppable!

Tonight we come together to celebrate the progress of our campaign, A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.

Thank you for being here.

You’ll see and hear how the campaign is helping to create A Greater Penn State through three imperatives—Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World.

So let’s start with the priority that is close to all of us – our Open Doors initiative that gives talented, hardworking students access to a Penn State education. In fact, that is our mission.

And, we do it well.

For example, the Brookings Institute just listed Penn State in their top “leader” category – ranked high in research while also being ranked high in the upward mobility of our students.

The message is simple – come to Penn State and we will help you succeed. But, tonight, the word you will hear again and again is “greater”.

We still have too many students of low income who work too many jobs, and either give up or go for six years, pay much more, have horrendous debt and don’t even get a Penn State experience.

Open Doors is intended to profoundly change that story.

These are scholarships that specifically tackle every bottleneck for need-based students:

These are more than the typical scholarships – they are precision tickets to completion and upward mobility.

And that is why we’re offering a 2:1 match for your gifts.

So far this year, you have already created 216 Open Doors Scholarships to support programs and resources that help students graduate on time. That is phenomenal. Thank you.

Our current proposals exceed 1,000 scholarships and $100 million in Open Doors endowments. The need for more help – more Open Doors – is urgent.

Shortly, you will hear why – you will hear stories from three of the thousands of Penn State students who are benefiting from scholarships and financial support.

I believe that Penn Staters who come together will always do more. We can be greater. We can ensure that every student who is bright and willing to work hard, regardless of finances, will have access to a great education and a great career. The future’s right in front of us.

Thank you.