Penn State Professors Create Fund to Support Graduate Students

Penn State Professors Elizabeth J. Susman and Gerald I. Susman have created two new endowments to support graduate students in the College of Health and Human Development and the Smeal College of Business, their respective colleges.

The Gerald I. Susman Enhancement Fund in the Department of Management and Organization in the Smeal College of Business and the Elizabeth J. Susman Enhancement Fund in Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development will provide annual support for graduate students in the academic departments where the Susmans have spent their distinguished academic careers.

Liz and Gerry Susman

Elizabeth and Gerald Susman have created two new endowments to support graduate students in their respective colleges.

“Gerry and Liz have a deep understanding and appreciation for the road our graduate students travel,” said Charles H. Whiteman, the John and Becky Surma Dean of the Smeal College. “They know that assisting with the expenses of aspiring academics can make a big difference as students advance in their research and progress toward completion of their degrees.”

“With these new gifts, the Susmans have found yet another way to help the next generation of scholars,” said Ann C. Crouter, the Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development. “Over the years, they have mentored and advised many graduate students. These endowments reveal how deeply committed Gerry and Liz are to nurturing Penn State students and to building the programs that attract talented individuals to academia.”

Gerald Susman joined the Smeal faculty in 1969 and partially retired in 2010. He continues to serve the Smeal College as the Klein Professor Emeritus of Management, director of the Center for the Management of Technological and Organizational Change, and director of the college’s Sustainability Council.

Elizabeth Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health, joined the faculty of the College of Health and Human Development in 1977. Her research integrates behavioral endocrinology and developmental psychology and is published in biomedical and psychological journals. She has served on multiple research and health policy-related national committees, and her research has been funded by numerous agencies and foundations. She is the co-chair of her college’s Development Council.

The Susman endowments will support young scholars by covering travel expenses for professional conferences, academic competitions, conference registration and lab fees, and other thesis-related expenses.

"Liz and I are deeply committed to supporting Penn State graduate students in whatever capacity we can,” said Gerry Susman. “They and their faculty mentors have enriched our lives in countless ways over many decades, and these individuals have made and will continue to make Penn State one of the finest research universities in the world."

These enhancement funds are the latest commitments from the Susmans, who have a long history of philanthropic leadership at Penn State. The couple co-chaired the Faculty and Staff Campaign during the University’s Grand Destiny campaign, and each has served on numerous fundraising committees for their respective colleges.

The new Susman endowments will help the Smeal College of Business and the College of Health and Human Development to reach their goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality. The campaign's top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

For more information on the For the Future campaign, visit


For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or