Alpha Chi Sigma alumni group creates $1.5 million in new scholarship endowments


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumni of the national professional chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma have committed $1.5 million to endow scholarships in the three colleges where most of their members earned their degrees: the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Eberly College of Science. Each $500,000 fund will generate scholarships for undergraduates who demonstrate financial need and academic achievement or promise.

The scholarships have been named in honor of successful members of the Nu Chapter Alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma, an organization founded in 1902 to encourage bonds between students and professionals in the chemical sciences. The gift was celebrated at a Dec. 13 event at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

“Like other fraternities and sororities, Alpha Chi Sigma shares in Penn State’s traditions of community and impact, which are expressed through the fraternity’s Three Objects: To bind, to strive and to aid,” said O. Richard Bundy, III, vice president for development and alumni relations. “All three are evident in their choice to support academically talented students with great financial need. With these gifts, the Nu Chapter Alumni not only fulfill their mandate as members, but also strengthen our shared tradition of building a lifelong community and, together, giving back. We are truly grateful for this meaningful gesture of support that will benefit students for generations to come.”

From 1911 until 2009, the Alpha Chi Sigma house at 406 South Pugh Street in State College was home to the Nu Chapter of the fraternity, and more than a thousand members, both men and women, graduated from the University over that century. The new scholarships, funded by the sale of the Pugh Street property, celebrate three notable alumni:

The Nu Chapter Alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma Fred Nicholas Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering honors the late State College contractor and developer who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Penn State in the late 1940s and who was a longtime leader for Alpha Chi Sigma, the University and the community.

“On behalf of the roughly 10,000 current undergraduate engineering students at Penn State and the tens of thousands that will come through our college in the years ahead, I want to thank the Nu Chapter for this wonderful gift,” said Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “With our long shared history, we are really excited to take this next chapter of partnering with Alpha Chi Sigma and build on that strong foundation.”

The Nu Chapter Alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma Mary L. Willard Scholarship Fund in the Eberly College of Science honors the Penn State faculty member and first female member of Alpha Chi Sigma who was known for her work in microscopy and forensic science and who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the college in the 1920s.

“Such unrestricted scholarships are exceedingly rare, and this commitment gives succeed,” said Tracy Langkilde, Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science. “This scholarship is fitting as it both honors the giving spirit of the alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma and pays tribute to a true pioneer of chemistry in a lasting and impactful way.”

The Nu Chapter Alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma John Matternas Scholarship Fund in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences honors the 1947 chemistry graduate who went on to a successful career in the insurance industry and served as a volunteer leader on behalf of the University and the fraternity.

“As the next generation of scientists and engineers, our students represent what is possible for the future,” said Lee Kump, the John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “When we fail to support them, we risk losing that future. While our need will not end until we can provide every student with the scholarships they need to graduate, the Nu Chapter alumni of Alpha Chi Sigma have brought us far closer than we were before.”

Nicholas Braccio, Nu Chapter president, closed the event by noting the long history of Alpha Chi Sigma at Penn State and applauding the future function of the former fraternity house, which will be used by the Borough of State College for housing and human services. Braccio accepted the thanks of the deans on behalf of the Nu Chapter and offered the gratitude of the group to the University for continuing the Alpha Chi Sigma legacy, saying, “We are glad that the stewardship of these scholarships by Penn State will continue the spirit of Nu Chapter by helping students to become scientists and engineers.”

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


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