Alumni couple creates endowment for School of Labor and Employment Relations

Penn State alumni Beth and Scott Albright have been together — even when jobs and states separated them — for more than 30 years. Because of a new philanthropic gift, their long Penn State story has a new chapter that will continue far into the future.

You can read the original story on Penn State News

By Susan Burlingame

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumni Beth and Scott Albright have been together — even when jobs and states separated them — for more than 30 years. Because of a new philanthropic gift, their long Penn State story has a new chapter that will continue far into the future.

The two met in 1986 when a mutual friend convinced Beth — a scholarship athlete on Penn State’s diving team — to join an intramural flag football team. Beth and Scott became fast friends and started dating just a month before Scott graduated in 1987 with a degree in mechanical engineering. He accepted a position in Albany, New York; Beth was still two years from completing her studies.

“Scott drove back to Penn State a lot during those years because I was either training or had a competition, but we made it work,” said Beth, who earned her degree in labor and industrial relations. “When I graduated, I moved to South Carolina and then to New Jersey. We got engaged, but we still hadn’t lived in the same state.”

Scott eventually found a job closer to Beth, and the two married in March 1992. Two kids and two successful careers later (Scott worked in engineering design, manufacturing, and sales, and Beth eventually became the chief human resources officer for a Fortune 500 company), the Albrights decided it was time to make a significant philanthropic gift to their alma mater. Though the couple had contributed to Penn State every year since their graduations, they were ready to do more.

With a $50,000 gift, the Albrights, now both retired, created the Albright Family Labor and Employment Relations Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts. The purpose of the fund is to enrich the School of Labor and Employment Relations by offering scholarships or enrichment funding for student activities such as internships, study abroad and undergraduate research.

“We are now in a position to give back more than just time and talent,” said Beth, who has been a member of the Labor and Employment Relations Alumni Board since 2007.

Working with their financial planner, the Albrights established a donor-advised fund in 2017, knowing they wanted to be philanthropic and knowing they would one day want to support Penn State. The couple involved their teenaged children, Eric and Heather, in deciding where to direct their philanthropy. As a family, they chose to support environmental causes, animal rescue and, of course, Penn State.

“We always knew we would do something with Penn State, but we thought it would be further down the road,” said Scott, noting that though both he and Beth are retired, they didn’t want to wait until later in life to make a difference. “Honestly, the pandemic made us say, ‘Why wait?’ Sure, lots of people put gifts like this in their wills, but it makes more sense for us to do this earlier in our lives so that we can help steer it and enjoy it.”

“We directed the fund toward helping students because we have seen firsthand how a little bit of support can make a big difference,” Beth explained. Each summer for the last nine years, the family has hosted Jeordys, a boy from the Bronx, through the Fresh Air program. “We call him our ‘summer son.’ He is well-loved but in a tough situation. It just doesn’t take much at all to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Added Scott, “We’re trying to make sure the funding goes to students who are fully invested in their learning — that they’re studying hard. We want to help them afford the kinds of experiences that allow them to make the most of their Penn State education. Maybe we can take the pressure off students a bit.”

The couple decided to direct their gift to the School of Labor and Employment Relations in large part because of Beth’s affection for the faculty and students as well as her long-term involvement as an alumni leader.

“I am very grateful that Beth and Scott Albright have chosen to establish the Albright Fund to support students in our school,” said Paul Clark, director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. “For many years, Beth has been generous in sharing her time, expertise and experience with our students by sponsoring internships and providing career advice. She is also a long-standing member of our school’s Alumni Board of Directors and just recently took on the duties of co-president of that group. She and Scott are great examples of Penn Staters who have made a difference by giving back to their alma mater.”

“The students in the school are so impressive,” Beth noted, adding that students of today have greater challenges — such as higher expectations and increased pressure — than when she was a student. “The intimacy between the faculty and students is still there. They do a deliberate job of creating a supportive environment and also in connecting students with alumni. It’s a beautiful community inside this amazing University.”

The Albright Family Fund helps to advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With support from devoted benefactors who believe in Penn State and its mission, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

February 1, 2021