Broadening the Penn Family

November 1, 2013

The School’s Latest Scholarship Donors Do All They Can to Help Others Become a Part of Penn Arts and Sciences

Curtis Schenker, C’80, parent, co-founder of Scoggin Capital Management, says Penn people are a part of his daily life. Between meetings with partner Craig Effron, W’81, discussions with other business associates, and work with fellow board members at organizations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Schenker estimates that he talks with as many as 10 Penn alumni every day. He says there’s “an immense value in business” to dealing with people he’s known since his college days and “a level of trust and understanding” that’s hard to come by any other way.

While attending the College of Arts and Sciences, he says, “I met a group of people who were very motivated to achieve success. I had never seen that before, and I was suddenly surrounded by them. ... Had I not met the type of students I did at Penn, my life could have gone in a whole different direction.” He’s thrilled that his daughter Alexandra chose to learn from and among Penn students as a member of the College Class of 2017, and Schenker wants to help other students have that same opportunity. “I owe everything to having been at Penn,” he says. For that reason, the Schenker Family Foundation recently endowed its third scholarship at the University. “You can get a liberal arts education and go anywhere in life. ... If you can send one kid to school it’s such a rewarding experience,” he says.

Alumni couple Allison Bieber McKibben, C’93, and Jeffrey McKibben, W’93, couldn’t agree more. They attribute their professional success—as the founder of The McKibben Group executive recruiting firm in Allison’s case and a Managing Principal at Odyssey Investment Partners in Jeffrey’s—to their time at Penn. They also see the University as the root of their personal happiness, since it was their mutual Penn friends who brought them together as a couple a few months after graduation.

“Penn has meant so much to both of us, in terms of growing up, becoming young adults, being on our own, having three beautiful daughters, and embracing that community and being able to be together as two Penn alumni and continue all that Penn has taught us and given us. We feel very attached,” Allison says.

The University has been such an influence on their lives that Jeffrey decided to propose to Allison on campus during their fifth reunion. They say their subsequent reunions also have been pretty memorable. They’ve returned to campus for each one, serving on the reunion and/or gift committees and marking their 15th and 20th reunions by endowing scholarships for College or Wharton students from their home states of Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

“Giving is a journey,” says Jeffrey. “We’re beginning to realize the ripple effect that we can have in the lives of others … One of the important things that comes out of this is the connection we make with the student. In our experience, the student usually recognizes the ripple effect and desires to have the same type of effect on the lives of others. It’s a fun and gratifying chain to be a part of.”

It’s also been a meaningful experience for Allison. “Knowing the path that someone can be on at Penn, it’s one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve had,” she says.