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Saying Yes to $20 Million


“I want to make a difference in the lives of students because I want them to make a difference in the world,” said George A. Weiss W’65, explaining why he had given $20 million to the University to help provide for student life, faculty support and financial aid.
    The latest gift to Penn by Weiss, president of Say Yes to Education and of the money-management firm George Weiss Associates, Inc., will be used to establish a challenge grant for undergraduate financial aid; to create the Weiss House for innovative technologies for students in all four of Penn’s undergraduate schools; to establish an endowed professorship; and to provide support for athletic priorities.
    “Few people have been greater ambassadors for Penn than George has,” said Dr. Judith Rodin CW’66, president of the University. “His generosity encompasses his time and energy and his financial commitment to an extraordinarily broad range of student and campus life priorities. We are enormously grateful to him for this latest evidence of his dedication and unwavering support.”
    Weiss is perhaps best known for having founded Say Yes to Education, which combines academic support and intervention with an offer to pay college tuition or vocational-training costs for inner-city students [“The Gift,” December 1997]. The program, based at Penn’s Graduate School of Education, was launched in West Philadelphia in 1987 and now includes more than 360 students in Philadelphia, Cambridge, Mass. and Hartford, Conn.
    Of the $6 million designated for financial aid, $5 million will be used to create the Weiss Challenge Fund for Undergraduate Financial Aid, providing a dollar for every two dollars committed by other donors.
    The Weiss Tech House will give students interested in any sort of innovative technologies a setting to develop new products and turn them into businesses.
    Weiss, a charter trustee of the University and athletic overseer who serves as chair of Penn’s committee on undergraduate financial aid, cited the Hon. Walter Annenberg W’31 Hon’66 as his inspiration for giving. “I have always taken to heart a comment he made after making a significant commitment to the University,” said Weiss. “He said, ‘It is simply a matter of good citizenship.’”

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Copyright 2001 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 3/6/01