Major gift to transform nuclear engineering, support areas across University


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nuclear engineering alumnus Kenneth Lindquist and his wife and fellow Penn State graduate, Mary Alice Lindquist, have made a transformative estate commitment to support Penn State’s nuclear engineering program. The far-reaching commitment will also support scholarships for student-athletes and programming related to alcohol prevention and awareness.

“This extraordinary gift from Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist will expand and accelerate the exciting work Penn Staters are already doing in the area of nuclear energy,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “This, in turn, will advance our vision of making Penn State the preeminent destination for research and teaching that advances the world’s need for safe, abundant and affordable energy.”

The Lindquists’ gift will benefit the nuclear engineering program, which is currently housed within the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering but will become a distinct entity, separate from mechanical engineering, on July 1, 2019, following approval by Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas Jones, upon advisement of the Faculty Senate Council. The gift will establish the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Excellence Fund in Nuclear Engineering, which will support a range of programming within the new department, and the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Professorship in Nuclear Engineering, which will enhance the department’s ability to recruit, retain and reward high-achieving faculty. In recognition of the couple’s generosity, the University will name the department in their honor: the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering.

“Penn State’s nuclear engineering program is strong, with undergraduate and graduate enrollments at near-historic highs and rankings in the top 10 programs in the nation,” said Justin Schwartz, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “As we prepare to expand our academic offerings in nuclear engineering, this landmark gift will enable us to fulfill our lofty ambitions for the program, now and into the future.

The Lindquists’ gift will also provide critical support for a range of scholarships and programs across the University. Longtime supporters of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics, the Lindquists have designated a portion of their gift to support three scholarships in Intercollegiate Athletics: the Mary Alice and Ken Lindquist Endowed Football Scholarship, the Mary Alice and Ken Lindquist Endowed Men’s Basketball Scholarship and the Mary Alice and Ken Lindquist Endowed Women’s Volleyball Scholarship.

The remaining portion of the gift will endow the Mary Alice and Ken Lindquist Alcohol Prevention and Awareness Fund, which will enrich programming offered by Student Affairs to promote healthy behaviors among students.

“This commitment reflects our profound belief that nuclear represents the future of clean energy in the United States,” said Ken Lindquist. “It also reflects our deep gratitude to Penn State for providing the foundation for our careers and lives. Mary Alice and I believe there is no better investment than Penn State students and faculty, whom we know will do extraordinary things with our support.”

Ken Lindquist holds master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from the College of Engineering (1967 and 1971). He received his bachelor’s degree from Marietta College. The founder of Northeast Technology Corp (NETCO), Lindquist remained at the company’s helm for 30 years and subsequently became an internationally renowned expert on neutron absorber materials. He sold NETCO in 1994 and continues to work part time for the organization. He was named an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus earlier this year.

Mary Alice Lindquist holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary and kindergarten education from the College of Education (1963 and 1968), and she works as an artist. The couple split their time between State College and New York’s Hudson Valley.

This gift from Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit


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Amy Packard Ferro