BR+A establishes architectural engineering memorial scholarship

January 8, 2024

By Mariah R. Lucas

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The legacy of Eugene “Gene” Bard, a 1968 Penn State alumnus, will live on through the newly established Eugene M. Bard Memorial Endowed Scholarship Sponsored by BR+A Consulting Engineers. 

Bard, who earned a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering, died in March 2022. The scholarship was established in honor of his life and longtime service to both the College of Engineering and the Department of Architectural Engineering (AE) by his colleagues at BR+A Consulting Engineers with a $250,000 gift to the AE department.  

“Through this scholarship, BR+A wishes to honor Gene, his high professional standards and his personal commitment to quality education,” the company wrote in a statement. “We hope it will enable the generations of talented Penn State engineers to lead the way in creating innovative and collaborative engineering solutions in the mechanical and lighting-electrical fields.” 

Shortly after graduation, Bard co-founded BR+A, a Boston-based building design firm specializing in mechanical and electrical engineering for commercial clients, along with partners Arjun Rao and Ted Athanas. He led the company for more than four decades, during which the firm grew from three employees to over 400. The company now employs over 500 people across 12 offices. 

Gene was a founding board member of the College of Engineering’s Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education and a lifetime benefactor to Penn State, largely in support of the AE department. In 1990, Gene received the Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award, the highest honor bestowed by the College of Engineering, which recognizes engineering alumni who have reached exceptional levels of professional achievement in their fields. He also was named a Penn State Alumni Fellow in 1995.  

The scholarship in Bard’s honor will be awarded to full-time undergraduate AE students pursuing the mechanical or lighting-electrical concentration and can be renewed after the first year. Preference will be given to students in their third or fourth years of the program who show promise of outstanding academic success and have achieved a grade point average of at least 3.0. 

Three to five scholarships will be awarded from the fund annually. The inaugural cohort of five recipients was awarded in Fall 2023 and will be announced at the department’s awards banquet this spring.  

“Gene spent a lifetime helping young engineers achieve their goals, and BR+A is allowing him to continue that mission through this gift,” said Jim Freihaut, interim head of the Department of Architectural Engineering. “We are grateful to BR+A for their generosity in supporting the next generation of architectural engineers.” 

With the endowment, BR+A adds to its 20-year history of giving to Penn State AE. The company has regularly contributed to the Professor Melvin Isenberg Memorial Scholarship in the Department of Architectural Engineering, the Professor Jack Everetts Memorial Scholarship in the Department of Architectural Engineering and the Eugene Bard Honorary Scholarship in the Department of Architectural Engineering.  

BR+A is deeply connected to Penn State’s Architectural Engineering department, as it currently employs over 40 Penn State AE alumni.  

“Penn State AE graduates work on complex building projects in mechanical, electrical, lighting and construction administration design positions here at BR+A,” the company wrote in a statement. “We host between five and 10 Penn State AE summer interns every year and have an ongoing recruitment program that brings onboard several graduating Penn State AE students. We look forward to Penn State students being part of our company culture for years to come.” 

Gifts like the Eugene M. Bard Memorial Endowed Scholarship Sponsored by BR+A Consulting Engineers advance the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve and lead. Through philanthropy, alumni and friends are helping students to join the Penn State family and prepare for lifelong success; driving research, outreach and economic development that grow our shared strength and readiness for the future; and increasing the University’s impact for families, patients, and communities across the Commonwealth and around the world. Learn more by visiting 


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