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Scholarship Luncheon Celebrates Nearly $800K in Awarded Scholarships

Thursday, April 27, 2023 @ 12:04 AM

Posted by Adrian Weber

2023 04 19 - Scholarship Luncheon - Hero (1)DUBOIS, Pa. – Investing in student success has always been a priority at Penn State DuBois, not only for the faculty and staff at the campus but also for the greater community. That sentiment was fully on display last Wednesday when students and donors alike gathered at the DuBois Country Club for the annual scholarship luncheon.

(Pictured above: Left to right – Ed Nasuti, Della Nasuti, David Ross, Debbie Ross, Jason Plubell, Larissa James-LaBranche, Jungwoo Ryoo, Julie Frank, and Jean Wolf.)

Scholarships at the small but mighty Penn State DuBois campus continue to grow, with scholarships being awarded now totaling nearly $800,000 during the 2022-23 academic year. The annual scholarship luncheon brings students and donors together to give everyone an opportunity to learn more about each other and get to know each other on a more personal level.

Jungwoo Ryoo, chancellor and chief academic officer, opened the event with a warm welcome and some opening remarks.

“You have demonstrated that you believe in Penn State DuBois to ensure the effective use of these valued resources and to strive each day to lead our students toward the successful completion of a world-class Penn State degree.

“Today, we join with you to reflect on the significant impact of donor scholarship funds on the lives of our Penn State DuBois students,” Ryoo said. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we awarded nearly $800,000 in scholarships to 285 students, an increase of over $150,000 from last year, with 10 additional students served! You have demonstrated, through your gifts, that you believe in Penn State DuBois to ensure the effective use of these valued resources and to strive each day to lead our students toward the successful completion of a world-class Penn State degree.”

Student speakers for the event included Larissa James-LaBranche, recipient of the Madlyn Hanes scholarship endowment for academic excellence, and Jason Plubell, recipient of the Penny and Jim Carlson scholarship.

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(Pictured above: Larissa James-LaBranche speaking during the 2022-23 scholarship luncheon.)

James-LaBranche highlighted all the opportunities that have been provided to her by Penn State DuBois and its donors.

“I have been empowered to pursue a double major, conduct research on group dynamics, play softball at a competitive level, hold an executive position for Delta Mu Sigma, act as president of the business society, help organize the adult easter egg hunt for autism awareness, help organize the 21 days of sustainability challenge and be part of trips to Washington D.C. and New York City,” James-LaBranche said. “None of these opportunities would have been possible without donors like you believing in students like me.”

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(Pictured above: Jason Plubell speaking during the 2022-23 scholarship luncheon.)

Plubell aimed to take his personal experience and relate it to each of the students in attendance.

“I would not be in this position today without the generosity of the Carlson family, and none of you would be in this building if not for all of our donors as well,” Plubell said. “Each of these donors not only believes in higher education, but specifically believes in Penn State DuBois and the intellectual capital that comes through this institution. Let this face motivate every student in this room.”

Offering the donor perspective on the day were David Ross, of the Dr. David S. and Deborah M. Ross Open Doors Scholarship, and Ed Nasuti, of the Edward S. and Della M. Nasuti Open Doors scholarship and the Lee Simpson Associates, Inc./Edward & Della Nasuti Trustee Scholarship.

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(Pictured above: David Ross speaking during the 2022-23 scholarship luncheon.)

Ross commuted to Penn State DuBois for his first two years of post-secondary education before moving on to University Park to finish his studies. Raised on a dairy farm, not only did he work daily on the farm, he also worked at a local glass-bottle manufacturing plant, all to pay his own way through college.

“Through hard-learned lessons, my wife Debbie and I realized that we wanted to help others by easing the financial strain they face while trying to focus on their education,” Ross said. “Our educations helped us to achieve good careers and we are giving back, or paying forward, for others to do the same.”

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(Pictured above: Ed Nasuti speaking during the 2022-23 scholarship luncheon.)

Nasuti began by sharing his own life story when a scholarship changed his life. In 1969, Nasuti was planning on enlisting in the U.S. Navy upon reaching his 18th birthday. While working at a local grocery store, one of his school’s guidance counselors approached him and asked if he would be attending college in the fall. He explained that he and his family would not have the resources for him to attend college. Later that evening, that same guidance counselor called Nasuti at his home to ask him to attend a meeting the next day at Penn State DuBois. It was at this meeting that he was offered a four-year scholarship to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering, which he accepted, and his educational journey at Penn State began. Throughout that journey, Ed and Della both learned three life lessons, they said.

“First, we started to understand the importance of being involved in extra curriculum activities and working to improve our community,” Nasuti said. “Second, we understood our obligation to pay it forward when the opportunity and resources were available. The chance to endow scholarships at Penn State was that perfect opportunity. Finally, and most importantly, we saw firsthand the impact someone can have when they are willing to take the extra step to help others. And we hope that our scholarships will help impact the lives of current and future students.”

Pictures from the 2022-23 scholarship luncheon will be available soon and a link to view them will be added to this story.

Those interested in supporting student success at Penn State DuBois can contact Jean Wolf, director of development, at 814-372-3038 or

With the record-breaking success of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” which raised $2.2 billion from 2016 to 2022, philanthropy is helping to sustain the University’s tradition of education, research and service to communities across the commonwealth and around the globe. Scholarships enable our institution to open doors and welcome students from every background, support for transformative experiences allows our students and faculty to fulfill their vast potential for leadership, and gifts toward discovery and excellence help us to serve and impact the world we share. To learn more about the impact of giving and the continuing need for support, please visit

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