In 2014, Tracy and Ted McCourtney made a spectacular contribution not only to Penn State, but also to the goal of bringing together the top faculty and graduate students in several disciplines to develop knowledge and training that will provide legislators, policymakers, voters, and the public with better ways to improve debate, discussions, and governing both in the U.S. and abroad. Their gift of $3 million provides the Institute with a permanent source of income that will help fund graduate and faculty research, as well as outreach programs that will influence students and educators around the country. Because of the magnitude of the McCourtneys' gift, the University elected to name this institute in their honor.
A former social worker and an independent investor, Tracy ’65 and Ted McCourtney are an ideal philanthropic partnership, whose many gifts to Penn State have had a profound impact on the University and, especially, on the College of the Liberal Arts. The struggles of Tracy’s own family to pay for her Penn State education inspired their endowment of three undergraduate scholarships, which have helped more than 350 Liberal Arts students to earn their degrees. At the same time, the McCourtneys are helping to ensure that the students who come to Penn State and the college are finding an extraordinary academic community here.
Through endowments for graduate students and faculty, Tracy and Ted are supporting the present and future leaders who set the standard in disciplines including psychology, sociology, English, and American history. They have also become strategic partners with the college in some of its most exciting initiatives. Their gift to the Moore Building renovation and addition was vital in moving that project forward. Tracy and Ted made a lead gift in the campaign to honor Dean Susan Welch for her twenty years of service to Penn State, which inspired several hundred other gifts. Within the last year, they have created an early career professorship in psychology, a fund for the Career Enrichment Network, and a director’s fund in the Center for Democratic Deliberation, which will be matched with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Penn State honored the McCourtneys as the 2013 Philanthropists of the Year.
The McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s many programs are made possible in part by the generosity of private donors who share a commitment to liberal arts education. We would like to express our profound thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to the Institute:
Conrad and Susan Bessemer
Larry and Lynne Brown (click to the Awards Page- Brown Democracy Medal)
Cynthia Danel and Carl Frankovitch
Michael and Joanne DeMarco
Jeff and Sharon Hyde
David and Joanne Kleppinger
Greg and Toni Knoll
James and Deborah Newell
James and Kathryn Reehl