Shenango students supported by emergency fund from alumnus

Gannon Murray talking with a friend outside.

During the challenges of 2020, Penn State alum Bill Casey provided a gift of $100,000 to support students with unforeseen financial difficulties in completing their Penn State degrees. Gannon Murray, a senior business student, was awarded form the fund during fall of 2020. 

Credit: Brooke Doerfler

SHARON, Pa. — During a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused hardships for so many families, William E. Casey established an emergency fund to support students with unforeseen financial obstacles.

“We know how challenges at home can impact success in the classroom,” said Director of Student Affairs Jammie Clark. “Since 2020, we've seen a rise in the number of students having these challenges. When unexpected expenses pop up, students are faced with tough decisions. Expenses like textbooks, tuition, transportation, and food can get pushed down the priority list."

Previously, the Shenango campus was reliant on the University-wide Student Emergency Fund, which is available to all Penn State students. Established in 2020, Casey’s Bridge to Success Fund aims to help students facing financial hardship to complete their Penn State degrees. Having a campus-specific fund allows for additional flexibility to get students support quickly.

“Every year of a student’s life can change drastically,” said Casey. “Each semester a student stays enrolled is another step closer to earning their degree and perusing their professional goals. Penn State Shenango created extraordinary opportunities for me, and I’m excited to help provide these experiences to the next generation of Penn Staters."

Gannon Murray, a senior business student from Hermitage, said, “Expenses went up during the pandemic and these Bridge to Success funds were very helpful to limit the impact. I was able to make sure my books were paid for and that I’ll finish my last year of college. I’m very thankful for the support.”

Casey’s gift will empower the recipients to focus on their academic goals by covering travel costs, providing a semester of scholarship support, or addressing other urgent needs.

“The Bridge to Success Fund allows us to support students in ways we’ve never been able to before,” said Clark. “Our top priority is keeping students moving forward and this fund helps us support students that need it most.”

Students that need emergency support should submit a Care and Concern form to notify the reviewing committee or contact Student Affairs at 724-983-2836.

The Bridge to Success Fund honors Casey’s late wife, Janet Miller Casey, whom he met at Penn State Shenango, and other late family members who have attended Penn State. In their memory, the fund is named Casey Miller Bridge to Success Fund in Memory of Thomas A. Casey, Donald K. Miller, Gary R. Miller and Janet Miller Casey.

A 1973 alumnus of Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts, Casey is currently president emeritus of Warren Glass and Paint with locations in Warren, Ohio and Hermitage.