Retired chancellor pledges estate gift to support Penn State Abington students

Abington chancellor gift

Penn State Abington Chancellor Margo DelliCarpini, left, and Karen Wiley Sandler, who served as chancellor from 1994 to 2016, talk in the Sutherland Building solarium.

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — Karen Wiley Sandler, retired Penn State Abington chancellor, has pledged an estate gift that will be split between the existing Karen Wiley Sandler Student Success Fund and the Penn State Abington College Endowment. Her gift will benefit students and the campus in perpetuity. 

“Karen’s priority at Penn State Abington was student success, and for many students the biggest barrier to success is financial. I'm very grateful to Karen for her deep commitment to Penn State and her passion for Abington,” current Abington Chancellor Margo DelliCarpini said.

The Student Success Fund is a scholarship that was initiated during Sandler’s tenure as chancellor by senior leadership and the former chair of the Penn State Abington Advisory Board. 

“It was designed to help middle-class students who might otherwise fall through the cracks of financial aid. It is merit-based with financial aid parameters. It's a passion of mine to help middle-class families who don’t qualify for financial aid,” Sandler, who led the campus from 1994 to 2016, said. “I don't want to see need get in the way of a good education. We must do everything we can to open the doors and make opportunities available.”

“I don't want to see need get in the way of a good education. We must do everything we can to open the doors and make opportunities available.”

— Karen Wiley Sandler, retired chancellor, Penn State Abington

The Penn State Abington College Endowment provides the chancellor with funds for discretionary or pressing needs. 

“The endowment is really important because it allows you to respond to opportunities in a timely fashion including ways to make the student experience better,” Sandler said.

Sandler timed her gift to coincide with the changing of the guard in leadership at Abington. She acknowledged that DelliCarpini is building upon the work of Damian Fernandez (chancellor from 2016 to 2020) who in turn had supported Sandler’s legacy.

“From myself to Damian to Margo, it’s a chain of the commitment and care for students, and it goes forward,” Sandler said. “We are celebrating a new chancellor and the promise that a new era holds. I want to give Margo as much support as I can while also honoring the wonderful faculty and staff at Penn State Abington.” 

For many alumni and friends like Sandler, giving back to Abington is a meaningful way to remember the University and campus and leave a legacy through their estate plans. Those who choose to include Abington in their estate plans recognize not only the current needs of the campus, but also its future needs.

Estate gifts from a will or trust are one type of planned gift, in which a donor purposefully integrates a charitable gift into their overall financial, tax and estate planning. Other planned gifts include designating Penn State Abington as a beneficiary on a retirement plan or insurance policy. Planned gifts enable donors to make a positive financial difference for themselves and their families, while also leaving a legacy that benefits Penn State students for generations to come.

Individuals interested in learning about planned gift opportunities should visit Penn State's Office of Gift Planning website or contact Karen Weiss Jones, director of development, at [email protected].

About 'A Greater Penn State'

This gift will 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 the support of alumni and friends, “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    

About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With nearly 4,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 22 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.