Penn State Great Valley launches campus Giving Society

MALVERN, Pa. — Penn State Great Valley recently launched a campus Giving Society, inaugurating more than 30 companies and 20 people at a dinner and awards celebration on Friday, Oct. 11.

“It’s really great to have this Giving Society event to recognize donors that have been such a key part of the campus over our 50-year history,” said Chancellor James Nemes.

Though there are multiple giving societies across Penn State, there was nothing, until now, specifically for Penn State Great Valley donors. Erica McLeod, director of development at Penn State Great Valley, began implementing a campus giving society in the summer of 2018. By January 2019, the proposal for Penn State Great Valley’s Giving Society had been approved.

The Giving Society features four levels of recognition. The Silver Circle ($25,000 to $49,999), Gold Circle ($50,000 to $99,999), and Platinum Circle ($100,000 and up) all recognize a donor’s lifetime contribution to the Great Valley campus, while the Chancellor’s Circle is comprised by those whose annual giving totals $1,000 or more.

Joe Henry, a member of the Penn State advisory board and campaign committee chair, and his wife, Marilyn, were inducted into the Platinum Circle and Chancellor’s Circle.

“What I think is special is the way [Penn State Great Valley] relates to the community,” Henry said. “Tuition can only go so far in terms of providing facilities and services to the community. Through a lot of the contributions we received, we created the new Knowledge Commons and we grew the cultural programs.”

In addition to planning an event to recognize donors, McLeod also wanted to create a donor wall on campus to recognize the philanthropic support of Great Valley Giving Society members. The donor wall, located in the Knowledge Commons in the Main Building, was designed and manufactured in-house and installed using campus resources: The marketing department created the design for all components, the Innovation Center engraved the materials, and tech services installed all the elements.

Penn State Great Valley Giving Society Donor Wall plaques hanging on a wall

Penn State Great Valley's Giving Society Donor Wall

Credit: Penn State

“It really was a group effort where many departments came together with all the different skillsets to put this donor wall on campus,” McLeod said. “I love that it showcases what we can create in our Innovation Center. This also enables us to update the wall annually to honor and recognize new members of the Great Valley Giving Society.”

The Penn State Great Valley Giving Society event also featured an awards presentation, where Gary Generose and Annamarie Walter received the inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award and Leadership Award, respectively.

Generose, former chair and current member of the Penn State Great Valley advisory and alumni society boards, graduated from Penn State University Park with his Bachelor of Science degree in 1997 and earned his Master of Business Administration in 2003 and Master of Leadership Development in 2007, both from Penn State Great Valley.

“I’m humbled. There are so many wonderful Penn Staters here at Great Valley,” Generose said. “I feel very privileged to be part of the organization here. It really takes everyone’s support, and we’re very fortunate to have so many people engaged as donors and as volunteers.”

Walter completed the Lean Six Sigma certification at Penn State Great Valley and is the President of My Career Transitions. Beginning her work with My Career Transitions in 2008, Walter became president in January 2013 and has helped grow the organization in that time. She also serves as the treasurer of the Penn State Great Valley Alumni Society Board.

“It’s really exciting and I’m hoping that by receiving the award, we’ll continue to be able to get the word out about all the work My Career Transitions does here on campus,” Walter said. “[Penn State Great Valley] means a lot of things. It’s a great place to further your education, make good friends, connect with the community. … It’s really nice to be able to acknowledge all the people who give back to the campus.”

To learn more about the Great Valley Giving Society or schedule a tour of campus, contact Erica McLeod at [email protected] or 610-648-3279.