Courtesy: Lisa R. Baldi | Rolf Schmidt, center, recently established a scholarship at Penn State Berks for students who are enrolling in one of the college's baccalaureate degree programs upon graduation from Reading Area Community College. Here he discusses the scholarship with Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk, left, and David Delozier, director of development and alumni relations.
Thursday September 7, 2017 12:01 AM
Written by Reading Eagle / Reading, PA
Students at Reading Area Community College will have nearly $25,000 in new scholarships available beginning as early as spring thanks to the generosity of a local entrepreneur.
Rolf D. Schmidt, a German-born immigrant, has committed $250,000 to an endowed scholarship fund that will be available to RACC students who have demonstrated financial need and who are enrolling in one of Penn State Berks' baccalaureate degree programs after they graduate from RACC.
The gift will be doubled to $500,000 through Penn State's new fundraising campaign, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," which provides a 1-to-1 match for donors who establish a new endowed scholarship during the campaign.
"Each year, an increasing number of students are coming to Penn State Berks, having begun their college career at Reading Area Community College," R. Keith Hillkirk, Penn State Berks chancellor, said in a press release. "The support that his (Schmidt) gift provides will make that transition more affordable for these students."
Schmidt's ties to Penn State Berks began when the campus served as Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute, a private training center for Textile Machine Works, where Schmidt was an employee in the 1960s. He later founded Sharpoint, a surgical needle manufacturing company, with his brother, and they now serve as principals for another company, Unique Technologies Inc.
"Our goal is to create a logical pathway to success that provides students with encouragement and an incentive to 'stack' their educational experience in a way that points them towards first attaining their 2- and 4-year degree before moving into the workforce, pursuing graduate education or both," Schmidt said.