Penn State has big donations year

University does its second-best ever at fund-raising despite Sandusky child-sex case.

Posted: July 11, 2012

STATE COLLEGE - Pennsylvania State University received more than $208 million in donations for the fiscal year that just ended, the second-highest total in university history despite the upheaval after the arrest of Jerry Sandusky on child sex-abuse charges.

The school said Monday there was a slight uptick in the number of alumni who donated money or gifts in the fiscal year that ended June 30 to more than 75,500, reversing two years of slight declines.

"We're very grateful - humbled, really - to have this kind of response from Penn Staters, who I think have rallied to the cause . . . by the side of the institution through a very difficult time," said Rod Kirsch, senior vice president for development and alumni relations.

Only the 2010 fiscal year was more prolific for Penn State, when the school raised more than $274 million. What Kirsch described as a "bonanza year" for fund-raising was due in large part to an $88 million gift by Terry Pegula, founder and former president of an energy company involved in Pennsylvania's burgeoning natural gas industry. Pegula earmarked the gift, the largest private donation in Penn State history, to upgrade the school's club hockey team to Division I and build an arena.

Pegula has since increased his commitment to $102 million.

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of 45 criminal counts last month.

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