Whether he's working with steel or students, Joe Defilippi knows how to take great raw material and transform it into something extraordinary. As the director of product development for U.S. Steel, he recruited top undergraduates from Penn State New Kensington and other educational institutions for internships, and many have gone on to successful careers with the company. Although Joe retired last year, he and his wife, Bonnie, are still creating opportunities for New Kensington students to test their abilities in real-world settings. Through the Joseph and Bonnie Defilippi Internship Scholarships, the couple hopes to encourage students, faculty, and companies to build lasting relationships.
"Over the years, Penn State New Kensington has emphasized the importance of going beyond ‘book learning' to cultivate graduates with critical thinking skills and a commitment to lifelong learning," says Joe, who has served on the campus advisory board for more than three decades. "Internships are a way to get young people to apply their knowledge outside the classroom, and they can also be a way to strengthen the connections between the campus and the community."
Recipients of the Defilippi Internship Scholarships will receive a stipend and work closely with faculty mentors to find an internship with an area company that offers meaningful hands-on experience. The faculty, who will also receive funds from the endowment, will continue to monitor the students' progress and collaborate with the company throughout the internship. Joe is leveraging his commitment by going to possible partners in the corporate world and asking them to contribute to the endowment, too.
"We think that it's a win-win-win situation," says Joe. "Students get ready to hit the ground running in their careers, faculty members learn from their counterparts in industry and become better consultants and partners, and companies get a long-term look at top talent."
The gift is also a win for the Defilippis, who established the endowment with a charitable remainder unitrust funded by real estate. "We wanted foremost to make a commitment to For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students," says Joe, who is a member and former chair of the campus fundraising committee. "Penn State showed us how a charitable remainder unitrust would seed an idea that is very important to us, and also allow us the benefit of replacement income and a charitable tax deduction. Don't put off making a gift. There are many ways to provide a benefit to Penn State as well as to yourself."