“I hope our support encourages other people to think about their own philanthropy and how they can join this critical opportunity.”
—V. Arlene Cheatham
With a gift through their revocable trust, Penn State supporters, volunteers, and former employees, Harold E. and V. Arlene Cheatham, have established a legacy that celebrates their lifelong commitment to social justice.
“Arlene and I have dedicated our 40 years in the field of education to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Harold says. “It’s where our hearts and heads are.”
With their recent gift, the Cheathams have named Penn State as beneficiary of their trust to receive a gift in the amount of $500,000. Of that sum, $400,000 will be used to endow the Harold E. and V. Arlene Cheatham Fund for Inclusion and Excellence in Educational Equity and provide flexible resources to promote the mission of the office. The remaining $100,000 will create the Harold E. and V. Arlene Cheatham Lectureship in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, annually bringing speakers to campus to discuss equity, racism, and social justice related issues.
“Our goal is to join the University in its commitment to effectively respond to the most pressing needs on campus and to ensure that diverse voices are heard,” Harold explains. “Through our trust, we hope to make a significant contribution.”
For Harold, a lifelong commitment to education and Penn State began in 1958 when he visited the University Park campus with a friend who was applying to transfer. Having completed his enlistment in the U.S. Navy and one semester of college, the New Kensington, Penn., native was smitten by the campus environment and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to also apply for admission.
After earning his Penn State degree in psychology, Harold received a master’s degree from Colgate University and a doctorate at Case Western Reserve University, and he launched an academic, scholarly career focused on student development, campus equity, and diversity in higher education.
In pursuit of these professional and personal priorities, Harold has enjoyed a strong partnership of 60 years with his wife, Arlene. A native of Albany, New York, Arlene holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family relations and a master’s in public administration from the University of Connecticut. Following Harold’s counselor education faculty appointment at Penn State, Arlene joined the University as a counselor in the Multicultural Resource Center.
In 1996, Harold left his position as head of Penn State’s Department of Counselor Education to serve as founding dean of Clemson University’s College of Education, Health, and Human Development (now the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences)—but the couple never left the Penn State community. With their latest gift, Harold and Arlene have created a legacy that will amplify their interests and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for generations.
“We are really pleased with the efforts the University has made and the progress toward social justice [on campus]. We’re convinced that Penn State is on the right track, and we’re excited to pitch in,” Arlene says.
Support What Matters Most
Like the Cheathams, you can make a future gift to Penn State that reflects your values. Contact Michael J. Degenhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-800-9170 (toll free) to explore your charitable options.