Giving Across Generations

June 27, 2013

From a member of the Class of ‘49 to students right here on campus, a proud Penn family shows that when it comes to scholarships, generosity spans generations.

The Jaffe family has a long history of making transformational gifts in response to the School of Arts and Sciences’ greatest needs—from facilities to faculty positions to their latest extraordinary commitment: scholarship support. This loyal Penn family, which recently endowed a Men and Women of Pennsylvania scholarship for College students, includes former Overseer Elliot Jaffe, W’49, and his wife Roslyn; their sons David, C’81, W’81, and Richard, C’79, G’79; their daughters-in-law Helen and Lynette; and grandchildren Alexandra, C’14, and Spencer, C’16. Longtime supporters of the School, they have also made generous gifts to fund the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe History of Art Building and the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professorship in Film Studies.

“Now we thought, ‘Let’s make it possible for more people to attend Penn,’” Elliot Jaffe says. For him, the motivation to establish a scholarship dates back to the 1940s, when he came to the University on the G.I. Bill. Wanting to make up for lost time after his Army service, he says he rushed through his requirements without taking humanities courses. Today, he wants to give students the liberal arts education he missed.

But he wasn’t alone in wanting to make a gift to Penn. His entire family was involved in the discussion, and it was his grandchildren who helped steer them toward scholarship support. Alexandra and Spencer had seen how many students have to juggle part-time jobs along with courses and extracurricular activities, and they hoped their family could help change that for someone. Their father David, a member of Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Industry Advisory Board, also wanted to relieve that burden. “This is a way to help them focus on their academics so they don’t have to take a job or don’t have to walk out of college in debt,” he says. Elliot Jaffe echoes this. “We want to be the bridge over economic problems,” he says.