Koch family creates Penn State Schuylkill’s first educational equity scholarship

Lowell and Elizabeth Koch

Lowell and Elizabeth Koch

Credit: Courtesy of the Koch family

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. – Lowell Koch, the late founder and president of Koch’s Turkey Farm, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, was the sort of businessman who believed in handshake agreements, moral principles, and grooming employees from the ground up. That ethos is what drove Elizabeth Koch to honor her husband by pledging $25,000 to establish the Koch Family Educational Equity Scholarship in Memory of Lowell Koch, Penn State Schuylkill’s first Educational Equity Matching Program gift.

The scholarship, endowed in perpetuity with a one-to-one match in funding through Penn State’s Educational Equity Matching Program, will help generations of college students become leaders in their chosen fields, the Schuylkill County community, and the larger world. Scholarship funding will be awarded annually to students from Schuylkill County whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national backgrounds contribute to the diversity of the student body and who have a demonstrated financial need.

The Koch family believes in the power of a good education, especially in relation to bringing opportunity to students in Schuylkill County.

Brock Stein, president and CEO of Koch’s Turkey Farm and grandson of Lowell Koch, reflected, “My grandmother Elizabeth wholeheartedly believes that everyone should have equal opportunity, especially as it relates to the opportunity to get a good education. That’s what really excited her the most about creating this scholarship as a start to what we hope is an enduring partnership with Penn State Schuylkill.”

When asked about his hopes for the students who receive scholarship funding, Stein said, “I hope the scholarship really opens up a lot of doors for them, a lot of opportunities. Higher education can be a life-changing experience, and I hope this scholarship makes that possible.”

In addition to creating opportunity for individual students, Stein also believes the scholarship has the potential to positively impact the Schuylkill County workforce as a whole. “Hopefully we can make a small investment into having a more prepared workforce and having people stay local and work local after getting their education in the region,” Stein said.

Penn State Schuylkill Chancellor Patrick M. Jones said, “We are grateful to Elizabeth Koch and the entire Koch family, who are pillars of the Schuylkill County business community. Their generosity in establishing this scholarship at Penn State Schuylkill will put opportunities within reach for many remarkable students over the years. Just as importantly, this particular gift will help ensure that the campus remains a welcoming community that reflects the growing diversity of our county and a place where bringing people of different backgrounds and perspectives together in common cause helps everyone grow and makes our community stronger.”

The Educational Equity Matching Program offers alumni and friends the opportunity to partner with the University in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Penn State. Through June 30, 2022, or until the $10 million pool of matching support is expended, donors can multiply the impact of new scholarships for students whose gender, race, ethnic, cultural, and/or national background contribute to the diversity of the Penn State community. This support will help to fulfill Penn State’s historic land-grant mission—to reach all citizens of our commonwealth through teaching, research, and service—and drive transformation across the institution and the larger world. Learn more at raise.psu.edu/EEMP.

The Koch Family Educational Equity Scholarship in Memory of Lowell Koch 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 fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu. To discuss ways to make a gift to Penn State Schuylkill, contact Eileen Kuperavage, director of development, at 570-385-6260.