Gary Budge can still remember the feeling of preparing to complete his final semester at the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 1972. He felt confident that—throughout his education—he had developed the skills, attitude, and network necessary to thrive in the hospitality industry. Gary developed these attributes, in part, thanks to opportunities created by the philanthropic nature of Penn Staters who had come before him.
"I saw very clearly that a great deal of our success as a school was because of alumni who had given back," Gary says. "This 'pay it forward' attitude was fundamental to the program."
Since earning his bachelor of science degree in food service and housing administration, Gary and his wife, Joanne, have followed in the footsteps of those generous individuals. Together, they have established numerous charitable gift annuities and a bequest to benefit the School of Hospitality Management and have volunteered their time and talent to various University fundraising initiatives—all to strengthen the educational experience for students and encourage others to give back.
Now, by establishing the Joanne F. and Gary J. Budge Achievement Scholarship, the Budges have deepened their philanthropic partnership with the School of Hospitality Management.
"We created the fund as a partial repayment for the value added to our lives by the many members of our Penn State family," Joanne says. "We want to reward academic achievement, and establishing this scholarship helped us to do just that."
Gary and Joanne established the scholarship to leave an enduring impact on the School of Hospitality Management and the people who call it home. Their fund will become active after their lifetimes through combining the balance of their many charitable gift annuities, and so the scholarship will also ensure that their remaining funds serve as valuable assets to the next generation of hospitality professionals.
"The scholarship will empower students to grow in their profession and recognize the value of their alignment with Penn State's School of Hospitality Management," Gary explains. "Our goal is to provide the philanthropic support that will inspire future Penn Staters to adopt a spirit of paying it forward for the future."
Both Gary and Joanne hold leadership roles in New York City's competitive hospitality scene. The former general manager of The Algonquin Hotel, Gary currently serves as principal of the consulting firm Budge and Co., LLC. Joanne, having retired from Four Seasons Hotel New York in 2019, is also active in the consulting practice.
But even as they continue to navigate the demanding requirements of the job, the Budges are motivated to set an example and go the extra mile to support Penn Staters. "Philanthropy is a part of our DNA," Gary says. "We believe supporting hospitality management students makes both the school and the University better, and that is a reflection upon those who pave the way."
To learn more about how you can help to shape the future of Penn State, please contact Michael J. Degenhart at 888-800-9170 (toll free) or firstname.lastname@example.org.