With a donation of $2
million earlier this month,
Gene and Roz Chaiken
created the largest scholarship received by the College of
Liberal Arts, Dean Susan Welch said.
This Trustee Scholarship
is also one of the first to earn a
10 percent annual match
from Penn State, according
to the Giving to Penn State website. Gene Chaiken said the scholarship might open doors for students who cannot afford rising tuition and room and board costs. “We wanted to alleviate some of the financial burden, so students can spend time studying, not working,” Chaiken said.
But this isn’t the first donation the family has made. Five years ago, it established another Trustee Scholarship that aided more than 150 students in the College of Liberal Arts.
Also, in the 1980s, Chaiken was approached by a friend about bringing Jewish Studies to
While serving on a development board for the College of Liberal Arts, he made it his goal to institute the Jewish Studies Program, and he contributed to an increased effort on Holocaust studies at Penn State.
Through his work on the board, he said he developed a close relationship with Welch.
“The Chaikens are
incredibly generous people who have
supported several aspects of the college, especially Jewish Studies and Holocaust
education, and now
scholarships,” Welch said.
“They have been
especially moved by the
financial need of students and the meetings with ‘their’
scholarship students and their stories.”
The new scholarship is based on need as well as merit.
When searching for recipients, preference will be given to those who are business minors
in the College of Liberal
Arts, then a minor or major in Jewish Studies — then
lastly anyone within the school, Chaiken said.
For every dollar the
Chaiken’s put into the scholarship, the university puts in two, allowing
for 60 students each year to receive $5,000 each.
Chaiken is a third
generation alumnus of
Penn State, and so, when he
was only 11, he knew he
wanted to attend the university.
“Although I graduated
from the Smeal College of
Business, liberal arts is the
basis for a worldly education,
and everyone should receive equal opportunity to obtain it,” he said. And some students, such
as Alaina Lentin, said they
opportunities, like the one
the Chaikens created.
“Since the Liberal Arts
college is one of the biggest colleges on campus, I think it would attract a lot more students
because it provides so many
different major and minor
options,” Lentin (sophomore-communication arts and sciences) said. “With this scholarship,
I think it will simply just
look like a better opportunity
for any student to come
Chaiken said by helping
students now he hopes to
inspire them for the
“I hope since someone
helped these students when they were in need, they will do the same thing,” he said. “Helping others is a privilege, not a chore.”