FROM A CELEBRATION of Alumni Association his-tory and impact to a biennial gathering of family and friends, two of the association’s biggest events went virtual last fall.
In November, hundreds gathered online for the annual Renaissance Fund gala, for which the Alumni Association was chosen as the 2020 honoree for its deep roots in the Centre Region, close relationships with civic and university leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy. Speakers highlighted the association’s 150 years of connecting alumni and supporting the university, and the evening was capped with a performance—masked and distanced, of course—by senior musical theatre students. Through an outright gift of $500,000 from the Alumni Association and a matching gift program, the association raised more than $1.5 million for Renaissance Fund scholarships, which offer financial support to Penn State students with financial need.
Originally scheduled for October, the biennial Black Alumni Reunion was reimagined as a virtual happy hour and moved to early December. Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford ’20 MEd Edu WC and president Randy Houston ’91 Lib welcomed the nearly 300 attendees, and Penn State President Eric Barron discussed the university’s ongoing response to incidents of racist violence and harassment, both nationally and in campus communities. But this was a reunion, after all, and the festive vibe was buoyed by a round of Penn State trivia, a live DJ, and breakout rooms that let attendees connect by era or Greek affiliation.