Edna Bennett Pierce
A $7 million commitment to Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development from alumna Edna Bennett Pierce supports a variety of University and College efforts aimed at improving the health and welfare of children and adolescents. Bennett Pierce directed $4 million of the total gift to an endowment for teaching, research and outreach programs involving children and adolescents. The endowment funds graduate and faculty fellowships, and provide other enhancements to the work of the Prevention Research Center.
A resident of Wilmington, Delaware, and a civic leader and philanthropist, Bennett Pierce was a member of the “Famous 500,” the first class of women admitted to Penn State following World War II. She earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics with an emphasis in child development in 1953. C. Eugene Bennett, who died in 1996, began his doctoral studies in analytical chemistry at Penn State in 1951.
As a result of the generosity of the Bennett Endowment, the Center hosts a program of Graduate Prevention Fellowships and Bennett Prevention Scholars. These fellowships last for one academic year and are awarded on a competitive basis. The Bennett Endowment also makes possible the annual Bennett Lecture in Prevention Science, the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Prevention Research, and the Bennett Chair in Prevention Research.
Mark Greenberg and Christa Turksma
The Lectureship on Compassion was developed and funded by Mark Greenberg, who is the Founding Director of the PRC and the first holder of the Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research, and his wife, Christa Turksma, a curriculum developer and teacher of mindfulness skills. The two have committed funds to the College of Health and Human Development to establish an annual forum, through which outstanding researchers and practitioners can share their findings and perspectives in the areas of awareness, compassion and empathy.
Kevin and Karen Lynch form one of the most formidable power couples in the global health sector. As the founder, president and CEO of the Quell Foundation, Kevin oversees a nationally acclaimed mental health organization that is dedicated to reducing rates of suicides, overdoses and incarceration of people experiencing mental health illness. Karen, as president and chief executive officer of CVS Health, leads a team of more than 300,000 colleagues in providing health insurance and services to an estimated 34 million people.
Together, they are not only speaking out about mental health challenges but channeling substantial resources to Penn State to fund programming that will promote resilience and flourishing through training young people in the skills of empathy, awareness and compassion. To advance these priorities, the couple made a gift of $250,000 to create the Kevin and Karen Lynch Fund for the Program on Empathy, Awareness, and Compassion in Education (PEACE).