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Challenge Gifts - Making a Good Thing Better

For many Penn people, a challenge is one of life's great motivators. Indeed, in the academic environment the most challenging course or program is often sought out by the best and the brightest students. For those special people, the reach for the impossible is irresistible. To sequence the human genome, to "see" a neutrino before anyone else, to write the great American novel -- these people will follow the challenge wherever it leads. They are the pioneers who probe the unknown and show us the future. And, by the very nature of their pursuit of the unknown, they often define our future as well.

A Challenge Gift also seeks to define the future. With this gift, the donor commits to support an area and asks others to join him or her in extending the impact of their mutual gift. It is a particularly significant and effective way to build support in a targeted direction. Two recent gifts to the School of Arts and Sciences, one given by Mr. Paul Kelly and the second by the Korea Foundation, are strong examples of how this strategy extends an area of interest.
Korean Studies agreement signing
Paul Kelly believes that the School of Arts and Sciences needs more undergraduate scholarships to bring the very best students to Penn. He is challenging other donors to join him in establishing undergraduate scholarships for College students. Kelly has pledged a gift of $1,000,000 that will be used exclusively to increase the gifts of others. His gift will supply funds that will match scholarship gifts of $50,000 or more on a 2:1 basis. That is, for every $2 a donor gives to fund undergraduate scholarships, Kelly will contribute $1 to the gift. These gifts will offer naming opportunities for participating donors.

The Korea Foundation of Seoul was interested in strengthening the Korean Studies program in the School of Arts and Sciences. Foundation representatives approached the University with a challenge: we'll give you $2.5 million to create endowed chairs in Korean Studies if you can match our gift with $2.5 million from other donors to support graduate fellows, visiting professors, research, seminars, conferences, and library expansion. The University, whose needs in this area aligned with the wishes of the Foundation, agreed and is working to raise its part of the funding.

The Korean Studies program began in 1963 when Professor Chong-sik Lee, a leading national analyst of Korean affairs, joined the political science department and began teaching a course on Korea. Over the intervening years the program grew and now features other courses, links with Korean universities, and outreach. Penn has offered instruction in Korean language since 1984 and conducts a special summer internship program in which Penn students are housed with Korean students at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. The newly established endowment will be used to create three chairs: one in the humanities, one in the social sciences, and, if possible, a third chair in a discipline to be determined later. With this funding, the University will increase the number of Korean specialists on the faculty and propel Penn toward a leadership role in the discipline.

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