Despite Sandusky Scandal, Penn State Fundraising Is Strong

Penn State University collected more than $208-million in donations over the past 12 months, the second-highest total in the university’s history, says the Associated Press.

The total number of contributors for the fiscal year ending June 30 rose to more than 191,000 after two years of slight declines. That’s despite months of turmoil over the arrest and trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and controversy over the university’s handling of the matter. Mr. Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after his conviction last month on 45 counts of child sex abuse.

The 2011-12 tally has been topped only by that of the previous year, when the school took in $274-million. That figure was buttressed by the largest private gift in Penn State history, $88-million from natural gas executive Terry Pegula.

“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, the university’s senior vice president for development and alumni relations.

New commitments to the school totaled $223-million for the past year, down 37 percent from 2010-11, mostly due to an $88-million gift in 2010.

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