Campus alumna makes $100,000 gift to IST program

Sue Thomas with IST group

Alumna Sue Thomas, seated at left, recently made a generous gift to Penn State Worthington Scranton's Information Sciences and Technology (IST) program. Shown with Thomas are, seated at right, PSWS Chancellor Marwan Wafa, and standing, left to right, are IST Instructor Fred Aebli, Director of Development Maria Russoniello and Associate Professor of IST Debra Smarkusky.

Credit: Penn State

DUNMORE, Pa.— Although she is the first to admit that she bleeds “blue and white,” Sue Thomas, ’74 SCI, one of Penn State’s most dedicated Nittany Lions fans, is also a firm believer in academics. Recently, she demonstrated this by donating $100,000 to the forthcoming Information Sciences and Technology (IST) Active Learning and Innovation Lab at Penn State Worthington Scranton.

“Sue’s commitment and generosity to her alma mater are extraordinary,” stated Director of Development Maria Russoniello. “This gift is the most recent illustration of her outstanding philanthropy to Worthington Scranton that includes a memorial scholarship for her parents; creation of an undergraduate student research endowment in Science; establishing a Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund; support of the Matt McGloin Baseball Field; and other projects and programs.”

"I am extremely grateful that I have the means to provide this help to Penn State Worthington Scranton," said Thomas. "I have made many friends and contacts as a result of being a Penn State graduate. I feel that although I am a big Penn State athletics fan, there is so much more at Penn State. With this IST program, many students will benefit from the new center. I am following my hero Joe Paterno's belief, that academics is just as important as football."

This new space will promote peer-to-peer and student-led learning, encouraging students to consider each other's resources, helping them build an intellectual network of students, information and technology. It will also increase the level of student engagement through problem-based learning by focusing on real-world technology challenges. Adjacent to the new instructional space will be a suite for IST faculty and a conference room.

In addition to her exceptional generosity, Thomas has decades of service to Penn State. She has served as president of the Greater Scranton Penn State Chapter; an elected member of Alumni Council at University Park; and a member of the Worthington Scranton Campaign Committee and Advisory Board.

She was also honored by the Campus Alumni Society as its Alumna of the Year. Professionally, Thomas is a retired senior business systems analyst for MET Life.

“We can’t begin to thank Sue for all that she has done for the campus and for our students,” stated Chancellor Marwan Wafa. “She has left a mark on Worthington Scranton that we will always remember and for which we will always be grateful.”

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To learn more, please visit