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Dec. 9, 2009
Courtesy of Penn State Live
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State has named E. Lee Beard, an honorary alumna and vice chair of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, as the 2009 Fundraising Volunteer of the Year. The award honors the leadership of alumni and friends in securing philanthropic support for the University.
"Lee has united our 20 undergraduate campuses in a great effort to raise funds on behalf of Penn State students," said Peter G. Tombros, campaign chair. "She is a leader in the Hazleton community, both professionally and philanthropically, and she is constantly working to ensure that Penn State meets the needs of the many local communities we serve."
Beard emphasized the broader impact of the University.
"The more I get to know Penn State, the more I appreciate the benefits the students get from the generosity of the supporting donors," she said, "and the more I come to understand the value everyone gains by having Penn State available, with all of its resources. I'm proud to be a volunteer."
Beard's involvement with Penn State began when she moved to the Hazleton area in 1993 as president and CEO of First Federal Bank. Along with her husband, William W. Beard III, she became a supporter of Penn State Hazleton. As volunteer committee chair, she led the campus' successful component of Penn Sate's previous University-wide fundraising effort, the Grand Destiny campaign.
Beard was named an honorary alumna of the University in 1999. Over the last decade she has continued to be a top volunteer for fundraising initiatives at the Hazleton campus and throughout the University, even while heading up her own consulting company, The Henlee Group, and serving as a leader for organizations such as Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
"Lee is an inspirational advocate and advisor for Penn State's campuses," said Rodney P. Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations. "Her tireless commitment has taken her literally from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. Lee visited nearly every Penn State campus in the course of her first year as vice-chair, and her enthusiasm and expertise will continue to be invaluable as we move forward with the campaign."
Tombros noted that the Beards have also led by example. The couple has endowed scholarships for Penn State students with financial need, a fund for the Hazleton campus women's softball team and a symposium at the campus on contemporary women's issues. In October, the Beards announced a lead gift of $500,000 to launch construction on a new softball field at University Park. The site will be named Beard Field to recognize their philanthropy as well as William Beard's service as head coach of the Hazleton campus softball team from 1996 to 2002.
"Through their own experience as community members, Lee and Bill know the value of Penn State to people across the Commonwealth," said Tombros. "Through her involvement as a volunteer, Lee is communicating that value to other friends and alumni and inspiring critical support for the University. We are pleased to recognize her important contributions with this award."