UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Local business leader and philanthropist Dan Hawbaker has been named Penn State’s 2014 Renaissance Fund honoree. Hawbaker will be recognized in November at the 38th annual Renaissance Fund dinner, according to George Henning Jr., president of the fund’s board of directors.
Each year, the Renaissance Fund honors an individual or couple who, through a lifetime of service, has contributed greatly to the Penn State and State College communities. In its selection process, the fund’s board of directors seeks to recognize individuals who have deep roots in the Centre Region, close relationships with civic and University leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy.
"The Renaissance Fund is delighted to honor Dan Hawbaker as this year’s Renaissance Person of the Year,” said Henning. “Dan has done so much to transform the landscape of our University and community over the years, through his leadership in the construction industry, generous philanthropy and extensive volunteer service.”
This year’s recognition dinner will be held Thursday, Nov. 13, at The Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel on the University Park campus. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.
The Renaissance Fund is a highly visible example of Penn State’s ongoing efforts to ensure student opportunity through scholarship support funded by private philanthropy — the chief objective of the recent $2 billion University-wide fundraising initiative, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. The annual dinner raises money in the honorees’ names. Those contributions are used to endow Renaissance Fund scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students who have great financial need. Since the fund’s inception in 1969, the Renaissance Fund endowment has grown to more than $11 million. During the 2013-14 academic year, 475 students received Renaissance scholarships totaling $685,500.
Born in Franklin County, Pa., Dan Hawbaker settled in Centre County at the age of 6, and over the decades since, he’s helped both his family business and his hometown institution to grow into leaders. After graduating from the State College Area High School in 1957, Hawbaker served in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army for three years. Upon leaving the Army, he enrolled in York Junior College and graduated in June 1966 at the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in business and public administration.
After college, Hawbaker returned to State College to join his father’s excavation company, Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc (GOH). He gradually advanced in the company before taking over the presidency in 1978. Hawbaker now leads the organization along with his two sons, Michael and Patrick, both executive vice presidents. Over the years, GOH and Hawbaker have partnered with Penn State through both major construction projects and philanthropy.
Hawbaker’s gifts to Penn State span more than 30 years and have benefited Intercollegiate Athletics, the College of Engineering, and Outreach and Cooperative Extension, among many other areas. Many of Hawbaker’s gifts to Penn State have reflected his passion for construction while helping to enhance and expand the University Park campus. In the early 1990s, Dan contributed to the construction of the Bryce Jordan Center. Recently, GOH made a gift-in-kind of building materials to support the construction of a golf pavilion on the Penn State Golf Courses. The company has also provided scholarships over the years to support veterans in Penn State’s World Campus.
Hawbaker’s generosity and commitment extend to the region that his family still calls home. He lives in Port Matilda with his wife, Suzie, close to sons Michael and Patrick, his stepson, Roger, and his six grandchildren. He chaired the fundraising campaign to support the construction of the Schlow Centre Region Library, and he recently spearheaded a fundraising effort to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, which provides scientific and technical education to high school students and adult learners.
Hawbaker says that he is deeply honored by the Renaissance Fund recognition. “To be included in such an influential group of Penn Staters is humbling,” he says. “I’ve worked and collaborated with many former honorees over the years, and I have great respect for everything they do for this University and community. It’s also exciting to know that this dinner will endow multiple scholarships for worthy students with great financial need. That’s what it’s all about.”
For Renaissance Fund dinner information or to make a contribution, contact Kathy Kurtz in the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.