Donald, Lelia Ace establish PSU scholarship

3/15/2014 7:00 AM

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A retired Penn State faculty member and alumnus and his wife have established a new scholarship in support of students in the College of Agricultural Sciences with demonstrated financial need.

Donald Ace, professor emeritus of dairy science, and his wife, Lelia, of State College, provided a $50,000 gift to create the Donald and Lelia Ace Trustee Scholarship. First preference for funds will go to students majoring in animal science.

The Trustee Matching Scholarship Program maximizes the impact of private giving while directing funds to students as quickly as possible, meeting the urgent need for scholarship support. For Trustee Scholarships created through the end of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students on June 30, Penn State will provide an annual 10 percent match of the total pledge or gift.

Donald Ace was raised on a farm in Susquehanna County and graduated from Meshoppen High School in Wyoming County. Starting in 1941, he completed three semesters in Dairy Production at Penn State before being drafted into military service.

He returned to Penn State and earned a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Science from the College of Agricultural Sciences in 1952. As a student, he was a member of Delta Theta Sigma agricultural fraternity, Gamma Sigma Delta agricultural honor society and the Coaly Society.

After working three years for Penn State Extension in Allegheny County, he returned to campus to serve as a dairy specialist in the college and earn a master’s degree in Dairy Science. He was named Dairy Extension Section leader in 1974 and head of the Department of Dairy and Animal Science in 1979. He retired as professor emeritus in 1984.

He is a member of the college’s Armsby Honor Society and served on the Pasto Agricultural Museum advisory board.

After graduating from high school in 1944, Lelia (Lil) Ace joined the Cadet Nurse Corps, receiving her nursing education at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton and at Cornell Medical Center in New York City. After receiving her R.N. degree in 1947, she worked in nursing in hospitals and private medical practices for more than 35 years, retiring in 1984.

In a statement, the couple said they were motivated to create this scholarship by memories of the “lean and frugal years” during which Don was earning his bachelor’s degree. “Don worked many jobs to help cover college costs, mostly as a milker in the college barns and as a campus police officer,” they wrote. “It is with fervent hope that this scholarship will help support one or more students to the extent they may not have to spend hours working and have more time to study and develop knowledge.

“The dairy and animal industry demands qualified leaders and educators in order to succeed in the world marketplace.”

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