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Class Project Uses Alumni Donations to Establish Scholarship Fund

Members of Pennsylvania College of Technology's Students in Free Enterprise chapter present a $500 check to Robb Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation, for a new scholarship fund within the School of Business and Computer Technologies. At right is adviser Dennis R. Williams, associate professor of business administration/management, who made a matching gift of $500. A class project supported by alumni donations has resulted in a new scholarship fund at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

One of the options offered to alumni when they receive their annual request for donations to Penn College is to direct their gifts to one of Penn College’s eight academic schools. Those gifts are then used to provide financial assistance for students, purchase new equipment or software, or to support other student-focused initiatives in that school.

In 2009, $1,500 from the pool of donations designated by alumni to support the School of Business and Computer Technologies was set aside for use as seed money for an annual project in the Principles of Management course taught by Mark A. Ciavarella, assistant professor of business administration/management.

“Essentially, the students in the class act as a small business,” said Ciavarella, who explained the students must propose, research and decide on a product to sell; write a business plan on the proposed product and business operations; staff the operations of the business; order and sell the product (hopefully for a profit); and present a final semester report on what went well, what didn’t go according to plan, and pointers for future “companies.”

“In the process, they experience the primary functions of management,” Ciavarella added, “which are planning, leading, organizing and controlling.”

The Principles of Management projects have earned profits of $4,880 since 2009. Those profits were used recently to establish the Small Business/Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund at Penn College.

The Small Business/Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund will continue to grow through profits from future class projects and additional donations toward a goal of $25,000 within seven years to become an endowed (permanent) scholarship fund that generates scholarship awards from investment earnings.

Ciavarella said there will be a change in the project for the 2011-12 academic year. He discovered after three semesters that a project of this nature is too much of a challenge for students at the 100 course level, so he will try it at the 300 level, in the New Ventures Planning and Operations class, to see if things go more smoothly.

“Despite the challenges,” he noted, “the students in the “˜Principles’ class still brought in nearly $5,000 for the scholarship.”

The Small Business/Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund has also received $1,000 through the Penn College chapter of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise). The student organization donated $500, and the organization’s adviser, Dennis R. Williams, associate professor of business administration/management, made a matching gift of $500.

Williams said SIFE held several hot dog sales and used part of their winnings from national-level competitions to make the donation.

“We operate on the principle that 10 percent of our earnings go to charity or, in this case, scholarships,” he said. “Also, if a student shows up at a meeting without the SIFE shirt on, they must pay a fine, of which 50 percent goes into our charity fund.”

When the Small Business/Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund begins generating awards, preference for the awards will be given to full-time students who have completed at least 30 credits toward their bachelor’s degree with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better, who have declared a minor in small business management and entrepreneurship, and who have taken Small Business Management or an equivalent course.

Penn College is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, committed to applied technology education. Nearly 6,300 students are enrolled in bachelor-degree, associate-degree and certificate majors relating to more than 100 career areas.

For more information about Pennsylvania College of Technology, visit online , call toll-free 800-367-9222 or email .

For more information about making a donation or establishing a scholarship fund to support Penn College and its students, visit on the Web , call the Institutional Advancement Office toll free at 866-GIVE-2-PC, or email.

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