Penn State graduate’s scholarships open up opportunities for Schreyer Scholars

January 13, 2010

Ken Fasola '81 H P A paid his way through Penn State by stocking shelves at a local supermarket and picking up other part-time jobs. The oldest of five and the first in his family to go to college, Fasola made the most of his time at Penn State—he enrolled at the Altoona campus before transferring to University Park, joined a fraternity, and majored in Health Planning and Administration.

“At Penn State, I didn’t have a lot of spare time—I was one of those kids who, thanks to student loans and part-time jobs, was able to pay my way through college,” said Fasola, who graduated in 1981 from Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development.

Now a vice president with Humana, Fasola doesn’t regret working his way through college but he says he regrets missing out on the full range of experiences that accompany an education at an institution like Penn State.

“My parents made a great number of sacrifices over the years for us kids and the lessons I learned through them shaped who I am today. At the time I graduated from high school, however, they just couldn’t afford to send me to college. So, I worked around my classes and over the weekends,” he said. “Thankfully, I’m now in a position where I can provide opportunities and an education to individuals of similar circumstances so that they can take full advantage of what Penn State has to offer.”

Fasola’s plan is working. Ken and his wife, Tenley, have created two scholarships to benefit students enrolled in both the Schreyer Honors College and College of Health and Human Development.

The Fasola Family Honors Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development, established through a $125,000 gift, provides financial aid to a Schreyer Scholar studying Health Policy and Administration. The first two recipients of this scholarship were selected last fall.

Additionally, Ken and Tenley created the Fasola Family Trustee Scholarship in the Schreyer Honors College through a $100,000 gift. This scholarship provides financial aid to a Schreyer Honors College student, preferably enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development. Emily Lloyd is one of three Schreyer Scholars receiving a Fasola Family Trustee Scholarship for the 2009-10 academic year, and she said that the support has opened up several opportunities that may not have been affordable before.

“I have taken it upon myself to work and make some money to take care of everything I possibly can with my education,” Lloyd said. “I’ve been working really hard in college, and it’s nice to get some additional help.”

Lloyd had been working on campus at the Nittany Lion Inn. It was a good job but it wasn’t one that aligned with her academic goals. Thanks to the Fasola Scholarship support, Lloyd has been able to focus on her paid teaching assistantship in the biology department, and she was accepted into the University Health Services clinic volunteer program, an unpaid position that has Emily excited about exploring a nursing career.

“I’ve always liked anatomy and physiology, and I have always been very good in science,” said Lloyd, a junior majoring in Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development. “As a TA for anatomy, I get to help other people learn and help get them excited about the science of the human body. I like the idea of being in a nursing field where you can use what you know to help people understand what’s going on with them physically.”

The scholarship is also allowing her to enjoy her role as a morale captain for THON, Penn State’s dance marathon, which supports pediatric cancer research.

“I achieved one of my long-standing goals of becoming a morale captain this year, which is really an honor,” Emily said. “Without the scholarship, I’d have to turn to working another job. Instead, I’ve been able to focus on my studies and the goals I’ve set for myself.”

Fasola says that providing scholarship support for a student enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College was appealing because of the ways in which the honors program elevates Penn State’s stature as a premier public university.

“Penn State is known for so many things,” Fasola said. “Frequently however, when people find out that I went to Penn State, the first thing they want to talk about is football, which is not surprising. There are a lot of great things that the University has going for it that people just don’t know about. When I learned about the honors college, I thought it made a great statement and created an enormous opportunity for Penn State to position itself as a wonderful alternative for some of the brightest young minds in the country.

“I think it is great that students from across the university, from a variety of academic disciplines and economic backgrounds, have an opportunity to benefit as I did from all the incredible things that a big school like Penn State has to offer but at the same time be a part of a very small but incredibly impactful community within the university. This helps position Penn State as a developer of future leaders—men and women with capacity and the ability to do great things.”

Fasola said that while his family’s name is attached to the scholarship it’s not important that students know the specifics of who has provided the financial support. What is important is that students see the connection between those who have benefitted from their Penn State education and the responsibility passed on to them to, at some point in their life, offer similar support.

“They don’t need to know I gave the money,” Fasola said. “In my view, that’s less important than knowing that someone stepped up and helped them out and, God willing, they’ll be in a position to step up and pass it on in the years to come.”

That “pay it forward” philosophy isn’t lost on Emily Lloyd.

“If you can give back to somebody else, especially younger people to help them reach their goals – that’s what makes you successful in life,” she said. "Hopefully, I’ll reach that level of success so that I can do the same for someone else. I would love to be able to do that.”

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Editors: For more information about Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, contact Marc McMullin, director of development and alumni relations, at mcmullin@psu.edu or by calling 814-863-4543.

For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.