Media outlets and independent observers regularly identify the Penn State Smeal College of Business among the best business schools in the world — a perception that is most certainly reflected in the growing number of college applications Smeal receives each year.
We received nearly 20,000 applications for the class of 2027 and welcomed more than 1,500 students at University Park and across Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses. While our enrollment numbers are strong, an expected decline in the number of high school graduates in the years ahead serves as a reminder that we cannot rest on our laurels.
To remain true to our land-grant mission in the face of a new model designed to help balance the University’s budget by 2025, we must find new sources of funding if we are to continue to pursue bold educational opportunities, support innovative faculty research, and respond to emerging global trends in industry, education, and society.
Simply put, the generosity of our alumni and friends has never been more important.
Unrestricted philanthropic funds have in the past supported student organizations and lectureships, supplemented student travel to academic conferences and national case competitions, provided summer support to faculty, underwritten software and data sets used in faculty and student research projects, and provided emergency financial support to students in crisis.
Unrestricted or discretionary funds can provide the margin of excellence that allows Smeal to remain a top destination for students and faculty and compete with our peers around the world.
Consider, for example, the power of technology to scale our burgeoning portfolio of professional graduate programs and build upon our commitment to lifelong learning. Indeed, Smeal has an opportunity to become one of the world’s leaders in live remote synchronous instruction. Yet attracting learners to a virtual classroom will require significant investments in studio space and other technologies essential to delivering the high-quality distance education learners should expect from Penn State. Philanthropy can make this happen.
I am incredibly grateful to the thousands of alumni and friends who already give to the Penn State Fund for the Smeal College of Business, create endowments, and provide other funding sources. Your support enables us to provide an extraordinary education with a global perspective and real-world application and to produce the highest caliber
research that informs and inspires ethical, sustainable, and innovative business practices.
Your continued generosity will remain essential in the years to come. Thanks, as always, for taking this journey with me.