A family with extensive educational connections to Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has established an endowment that will provide scholarship support to students in the college who have demonstrated financial need.

- A family with extensive educational connections to Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has established an endowment that will provide scholarship support to students in the college who have demonstrated financial need.

With a $50,000 gift, Ronald and Tracy Hoover have created the Hoover Family Trustee Scholarship. First preference for scholarship funds will go to students majoring in agricultural and extension education.

As part of the Trustee Scholarship program, Penn State will make annual additions to the endowment equal to 10 percent of the initial principle. The University also will match at 10 percent any additional contributions made to the fund.

"Education, both formal and nonformal, has been a cornerstone of our family's professional and personal lives," the family said in a statement. "Collectively, we are on target to have six degrees from the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.

"Our scholarship will support the development of agricultural and extension education majors who will graduate with the knowledge and skill set to enter careers in the food, agricultural and natural-resource sciences and to help youth and young adults become informed consumers and future leaders."

Raised on a Cambria County dairy, crop and potato farm, Ronald Hoover received his bachelor's degree in agronomy from Delaware Valley College and his master's in agronomy from Penn State in 1983 and 1991, respectively. He currently is a senior project associate and coordinator of on-farm research programs in the Department of Plant Science at Penn State.

He also has worked in field and vegetable crop plant pathology research and extension at the University of Florida and in product research and sales for a small agribusiness firm in the southeastern United States.

Tracy Hoover earned her bachelor's degree in animal science from Delaware Valley College in 1982 and her master's in animal science from Penn State in 1983.

She spent three years teaching agricultural education at Big Spring High School in Cumberland County before earning a doctorate in agricultural education from Penn State and joining the Penn State faculty in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education in 1990.

She left to teach at the University of Florida in 1993, returning to Penn State in 2001 with responsibilities in youth leadership development and teacher education. From 2004 to 2011, she served as department head in Agricultural and Extension Education.

In July 2011, she became interim associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the following year she was named to the post on a standing basis.

The Hoovers' older daughter, Meghan Hoover Baker, graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences in community, environment, and development in May 2010 with minors in civic engagement and communication and in human development and family studies.

Currently the program director at the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington branch in Arlington, Va., she is enrolled in the community and economic development distance-education master's program offered by the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education at Penn State.

Younger daughter Allison Hoover is a student in the agricultural and extension education major at Penn State, pursuing minors in Spanish, international agriculture and sustainability leadership. Upon graduation, she hopes to focus on global agricultural development through education and extension, especially in Spanish-speaking parts of the world.

While in Florida, the Hoover family was active in 4-H, the youth development program offered through the cooperative extension system administered by land-grant universities such as Penn State.

Tracy and Ron served as co-leaders of a county 4-H club, and Meghan and Allison were 4-H members who participated in several leadership and animal projects.

The Hoovers' gift will help the College of Agricultural Sciences to achieve the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America.

The University is engaging Penn State's alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University's tradition of quality.

The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State's history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

More information about the campaign can be found online at http://giveto.psu.edu.