New professorship will strengthen Penn State's impact on national parks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State graduate Suzanne 'Suzie' Martin and her husband, Allen Martin, of Vienna, Virginia, have made the first gift commitment for an endowed professorship in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) in the College of Health and Human Development.

Motivated by a strong belief in the mission of the College of Health and Human Development (HHD), a love for the outdoors, and a deep appreciation for the U.S. National Park System, the Martins will create the Suzanne and Allen Martin Professorship in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management through their estate. The endowment will support a distinguished professor whose teaching and research directly engage with the national park system. 

"A goal of mine as dean has been to increase faculty support in the college because that is how you build excellence, so I am deeply grateful to Suzie and Allen for choosing to create a professorship in RPTM," said Ann C. Crouter, the Raymond E. and Erin S. Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development. "The Martins are great friends of Penn State and HHD, and they have focused on an important area of study for their gift. Resources to enhance research and teaching related to the national parks matters for the department, for our college, and for the country."

RPTM's relationship with the national parks is central to its activities in both research and education. The work of faculty and students informs decisions that help park managers balance visitor use with preservation of the ecosystem and visitors' experiences of unspoiled places.

"Suzie and Allen's commitment is historic, and will help to produce the next generation of leaders in parks and conservation," said Peter Newman, professor and head of recreation, park, and tourism management. "It will secure a permanent departmental focus on the national parks, ensuring that a top faculty member will always help the National Park Service untangle complex issues at the crossroads of social science and ecology. This will also cement Penn State's legacy as a leader in this field and attract top graduate students, opening doors for their education and training."

Suzie Martin earned her bachelor of science degree from HHD in 1974 in consumer related studies. Her curriculum combined coursework in business and the social sciences, textiles, health and nutrition. 

After graduation, she was hired as an internal auditor for a Pennsylvania bank. Following her mother's death in 1976, she changed direction and began a nine-year career in social work. 

She stayed home with her children, Adam and Alison, for several years before attaining her CPA and returning to a career in accounting. 

She is currently affiliated with Matthews, Carter and Boyce CPAs in Fairfax, Virginia.

Suzie began giving to Penn State and the College of Health and Human Development soon after graduation as a way to honor her mother, who made her Penn State education possible. In 2009, Suzie and Allen established an HHD need-based scholarship which was named for her mom.

Allen Martin is the managing partner of the Livingston Group, a Washington, D.C. government relations firm. Allen earned his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and currently serves on the Clemson University Foundation Board. While not a Penn State graduate himself, he is an avid Penn State supporter.

Suzie and Allen are both active members of the HHD Philanthropy Council, and they met Peter Newman at an HHD alumni event in DC in the fall of 2014.

"Peter's enthusiasm and passion for the parks is contagious," said Suzie, whose grandfather was a state forest ranger.

"I am grateful for my Penn State education. Even though my major is no longer offered, I have been able to leverage my education into two diverse careers.  Being part of the Penn State family is a big part of who I am. Allen agrees that supporting higher education is the best way to invest our charitable dollars. I also grew up loving nature and the outdoors. Allen and I are delighted to do something that will help Penn State and will also benefit our national parks," she said.

Gifts from Penn State's alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University's historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University has begun "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a public university: Private support will keep the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impact the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship.

To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu or contact Kathleen Rider, director of development in the College of Health and Human Development, at 814-863-1064 or kmr8@psu.edu.

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