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Scholarship at Penn State York to Honor Local Legend, Voni Grimes

$25,000 donation from Glatfelter to the Voni Grimes Trustee Scholarship
The $25,000 donation from Glatfelter giv the Voni Grimes Trustee Scholarship a big boost. Left to right: Voni Grimes; William T. Yanavitch, vice president, human resources and administration, Glatfelter; and David W. Chown, chancellor of Penn State York
3/20/2013 —

Whether he’s playing his harmonica at a community event, volunteering at his church, visiting the gym that bears his name, or speaking with young people about the importance of an education to succeed in life, Voni Grimes is an inspiration to all who know him.   To honor his work in the community and 19 years of service to Penn State York as the director of business services, the Voni Grimes Trustee Scholarship is being established and will be used to provide scholarships to students who may not have finances to attend college but have the ability and ambition.

“In my short time in York, it has become very clear that Voni Grimes is a living legend both on our campus and in the community,” said David W. Chown, Penn State York’s new chancellor as of Feb. 15, 2013. “Everyone I have met knows Voni and his work to encourage area youth to pursue the right path in life.  It is only fitting that a scholarship in his honor be established at Penn State York to provide educational opportunities for young people.”

Thanks to a recent $25,000 donation from Glatfelter, a worldwide supplier and leading manufacturer of quality papers based in York, Pa.; $31,000 of the $50,000 needed to endow the scholarship in Grimes’ honor has been raised.
“Glatfelter is pleased to partner with Penn State York in the development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Investing in these student scholarships is our way of honoring a local hero like Voni Grimes, who has dedicated his life to educating and bettering the lives of local youth,” said William T. Yanavitch, vice president, human resources and administration, Glatfelter.

The idea to honor Grimes and create a legacy in his name came from a Penn State York graduate, Shilvotsky Buffaloe, now the deputy director of economic development for the City of York.  Buffaloe credits Grimes with being one of the positive forces in his life that helped him to succeed.  Buffaloe believes by honoring his role model and creating this scholarship, other young people will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and pursue the right path in life through education.

Grimes served Penn State York from 1969 to 1988, and throughout his career was a recognized leader and inspiration to the young men he came in contact with on campus and in the community.  At age 90, Grimes makes it a point to share his beliefs about education wherever and whenever he can.  He shares with area youth, especially high school seniors, his philosophy about making decisions in life and he doesn’t mince words.
“You who are in 12th grade, where do you want to be in five years, in the streets, in jail, in the ground, or in college?  I would love to see you in college,” says Grimes.  He also
shares his three Ds with them: desire to go to college, direction - your direction is Penn State York campus; and determination – that is what it will take to be successful in life.

John J. Romano, who worked with Grimes when he served as campus executive officer at Penn State York from 1985 to 1993, offered some comments about Grimes and his impact to the campus and York community.

“In addition to Voni Grimes’ outstanding service to Penn State as an exemplary employee for more than 19 years, Voni has had a great commitment to the youth of the City of York and he has promoted education as the avenue for young people today to achieve to the best of their abilities," said Romano.  “He has just been an outstanding citizen of the York community and also a great representative of The Pennsylvania State University.  We are most proud of everything he has done through many many decades of service to York and Penn State.”  Romano, Penn State’s former vice president for commonwealth campuses, came out of retirement and was back in York to lead the campus from August 2012 through mid-February 2013, while a search for the campus’ new top administrator was completed.

For Grimes, having a scholarship in his name is an honor, but what the scholarship will do to provide educational opportunities for area youth is what truly matters to him.  When he thinks about the scholarship’s potential positive long-term impact on York city residents, their families, and the larger community, it makes him smile. “I’m very happy that there is a scholarship to be known as the Voni Grimes Scholarship,” said Grimes.

Those interested in helping make the scholarship to honor Grimes a reality should contact Di Hershey, director of development at Penn State York, at (717) 771-4127 or dkh13@psu.edu. Once endowed, the scholarship will help students now and in the future.

Keeping a Penn State education accessible for future generations is the responsibility of the University as well as an opportunity for its alumni and friends to change the lives of talented students. Through the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program, Penn State has committed to matching the generosity of its donors by designating, on a permanent basis, funds from its operating budget for scholarship support. The program has been designed to maximize the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support.

In this groundbreaking philanthropic model, the University matches 5 percent of the total pledge or gift at the time a Trustee Scholarship is created, making money available immediately for student awards. This University match is available to spend each year, in perpetuity, along with a payout equal to a percentage (currently, 4.5 percent) of the endowment’s market value. Therefore, when the endowment becomes fully funded, a Trustee Scholarship provides almost 10 percent of the endowment’s market value each year. Newly created scholarships can be designated for particular campuses (Penn State York), and a preference may be expressed for recipients within a particular geographic area (i.e. York city residents).

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