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Technology Has Impact on Philanthropy, Too

Robert and Nellie Byers Reynolds, both members of the Class of 1948, have long recognized the need to keep technology current. As chairman of Wallace M. Reid Insurance, Robert Reynolds uses technology on a daily basis and intimately understands not only how technology facilitates his business operation, but also how costly it is to maintain and upgrade. 

He chose to direct his charitable giving to support for technology within IUP’s Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. “We are choosing to support scholarship at IUP,” Robert Reynolds said. “In order for students to prepare for the future, they must have technology training and access to equipment that is current in the workplace. My wife and I understand that it is a costly venture, and we are pleased that our gifts to the university have direct impact on the student’s education opportunities.”

Robert Reynolds has been active as a volunteer through the years at IUP, receiving numerous awards and distinctions. Most recently, he and Nellie were honored with the 2002 Eberly Award for Philanthropy, given by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to outstanding philanthropists from each of the fourteen System schools.

Eberly’s dean, Robert Camp, said, “Ours is one of the best-equipped business schools in the country, thanks in part to the substantial generosity of Bob and Nellie Reynolds.” IUP students in any of the six departments in the college have access to a wireless network for laptop computers, more than six hundred work stations supported by twenty file servers including a dedicated web server and dedicated ERP server, a 500-seat auditorium served by digital audio and video technology, and classrooms with electronic teaching stations. Much of the college’s cutting-edge technology, as well as technology campuswide, is supported by private gifts from generous alumni.

Another fine example of private philanthropy supporting technology at IUP is the Slenker Graphics lab in the College of Fine Arts. The graphics lab is outfitted with all of the technology needed by graphic design students to make them competitive and marketable in the profession. Robert Slenker, Class of 1952, taught graphic design at IUP for thirty-six years. He experienced the transition from graphics designed on ruled paper to graphics designed and printed on a computer. His charitable gift honors his memory and will benefit students for years to come.

Technology has even been incorporated into the method of raising charitable funds at IUP. Tiffany Shinsky, a master’s degree student in Criminology from Scottdale, Pa., has worked at the Alumni phonathon for five years. Tiffany, now the phonathon manager, said, “The student callers enjoy the personal touch of making a quick and direct connection with the alumni. We like to dial the phones ourselves and begin the conversation by introducing ourselves as IUP students.”

Although the student callers make their calls the old-fashioned way, behind the scenes they are supported by technology. They are provided with up-to-date information and can be alerted to remind alumni to process a request for a matching gift when available from their employer. During the call, they also have the ability to research and answer questions about recent gifts and payments due, making it possible to resolve questions and problems quickly.

In September, 2002, a Phonathon website was developed for use by student callers and staff. Work schedules for the more than seventy students are posted, as well as information on current program goals, gifts and pledges received, and special awards and incentives for the week.

Many areas of the IUP website offer opportunity for donors to make pledges electronically. These include are the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania website and the IUP Marching Band Legend Club website. Technology is changing and facilitating the way we work and learn, but it will never change the principles behind the quality of education offered or replace the need for personal relationships and accountability for results.