$500,000 gift to support diversity in architectural engineering


By Gabrielle Stewart

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Clayco Foundation has endowed a $500,000 scholarship in Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering (AE). The foundation supports multiple charitable organizations in the communities where the design build firm Clayco is engaged.

“We’ve created the Clayco Diversity Scholarship in Penn State AE to help contribute to the diversity of the student body and aid full-time undergraduate students who have financial need,” said Rick Moeckel, Clayco Institutional Business Unit executive vice president. “At Clayco, we make it our mission to help remove barriers and bring diversity to the design and construction industries.”

The Clayco Diversity Scholarship is the largest of the foundation’s contributions to the University. The foundation has also contributed to existing scholarships and a research grant within the Penn State College of Medicine.

“Women comprise about 40% of students in AE — a ratio which has been steady for the past three years. Beyond gender diversity, we have many opportunities to broaden participation in architectural engineering,” said Sez Atamturktur Russcher, Harry and Arlene Schell Professor and head of AE. “We are committed to increasing the representation of students from traditionally underrepresented demographic backgrounds. The gift from Clayco Foundation will be most impactful as we support our students on their paths toward on-time graduation. If we ensure the success of a broad student population, everyone in building and construction industries will win.”

To promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the company and the broader building science and construction fields, Clayco created the Clayco Rising program. This initiative provides internships, training and other resources to support employees and students from a variety of backgrounds. Clayco Rising has also collaborated with numerous organizations created to support people from groups underrepresented in engineering and construction, including HIRE360, the Federation of Women Contractors and the National Society of Black Engineers.

Clayco, currently employing six Penn State alumni full-time with plans to hire an AE student upon their graduation in 2022, has worked with Penn State on several construction projects. These include the East Halls development, the Westview garage on the Penn State Hershey campus and the construction of a new parking garage and infrastructure in west campus — a component of the College of Engineering Master Plan.

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 serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.


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