Alumni society establishes Open Doors Scholarship for New Kensington students

Golf outing, other events help support new initiative to assist with student degree completion
John Spadaro, Kevin Snider, Nittany Lion and Vera Spina Greenwald

The Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society established a $90,000 Open Doors Scholarship for Penn State New Kensington students. Pictured, from left to right: John Spadaro, class of 1982, alumni society president; Kevin Snider, chancellor of Penn State New Kensington; the Nittany Lion; and Vera Spina Greenwald, class of 2003, alumni society member and past president.

Credit: Penn State

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society has announced the creation of a $90,000 Open Doors Scholarship at Penn State New Kensington. The scholarship is part of the University’s “Complete Penn State” initiative targeting students facing financial hardships and risk of not completing a degree program.

“Funds designated for Complete Penn State will be used to assist students who have great financial need and are 30 credits or less from earning their degree,” said Kary Milan, director of development and alumni relations. “Essentially, this fund is helping the students with the greatest need graduate on time and with less debt.”

The Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society holds two major fundraising events each year to help raise money for student scholarships including the new Open Doors opportunity.

“The Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society is proud to establish this $90,000 scholarship at the New Kensington campus,” said John Spadaro, Penn State class of 1982 and alumni society president. “We work hard through our fundraising efforts, our Bowl-A-Thon and golf outing, and this scholarship is the result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears! The success of these events affords local Penn State New Kensington students the opportunity to be successful in achieving their goals. We look forward to continuing this tradition.”

On Aug. 6, more than 80 golfers joined the alumni society and friends for its 19th annual golf event at Totteridge Golf Course.

Kerry Kelly, class of 1999 and alumni society member, stressed the impact that the golf outing, in particular, has had on the giving capacity of the group.

“In the last three years, thanks to the event’s supporters, the Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society has brought in $75,000 through the golf outing,” said Kelly.

Golfers and guests enjoyed the sunny day on and off the course, bringing blue-and-white spirit to the greens while knowing local Penn State students will benefit from the support.

“Without this event, some students maybe wouldn’t be able to attend Penn State New Kensington, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to help them out,” said Spadaro.

Savannah Smith, a psychology student and current Student Government Association (SGA) president at the New Kensington campus, was also on hand to personally thank the golfers on behalf of the student body.

“I think scholarships are really important for students at Penn State New Kensington,” said Smith. “Personally, I wouldn’t be going to college if I didn’t have scholarships.”

Although Smith still has one year at Penn State before she graduates, she’s looking forward to graduate school and being part of the Penn State Alumni Association.

“I’m definitely going to be involved with the alumni association because I want to give back to what gave so much to me,” said Smith.

After a picture-perfect day benefiting the students, both Spadaro and Smith agreed that the meaning of being a Penn Stater goes beyond a student’s time at the University, and being able to give back is an integral part of the Penn State story.

“Being a Penn Stater is being part of a family,” said Smith. “We are a family! Being part of Penn State just gives so much, between networking and just always having a family around.”

“It means everything to be a Penn Stater, but even more so, it means we can help the students here,” said Spadaro.

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

About the Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society

The Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society is an alumni society of the Penn State Alumni Association. It includes members from the western Pennsylvania region and aims to connect individuals who have a shared passion, pride and loyalty for Penn State. The group focuses on interacting with alumni and current students through events, fundraising and networking activities, as well as increasing its scholarship endowment, which raised more than $134,000 for students in 2017. To learn more and see a listing of events and meetings, visit