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Friedmans Named 2012 Renaissance Fund Honorees

by on September 03, 2012 4:00 PM

State College business and community leaders Ed and Charlene Friedman have been named Penn State’s 2012 Renaissance Fund honorees. They will be recognized in November at the 36th annual Renaissance Fund dinner, according to John Walizer, president of the fund’s board of directors.

Each year, the Renaissance Fund honors an individual or couple who, through a lifetime of service, has contributed greatly to the Penn State and State College communities. In its selection process, the fund’s board of directors seeks to recognize individuals who have deep roots in the Centre Region, close relationships with civic and University leaders, and a commitment to philanthropy.

“The Friedmans truly embody the spirit of the Renaissance Fund,” said Walizer. “Through their tireless commitment to the University and to local organizations, they have left a lasting impact on the life of our community and its members.”

This year’s recognition dinner will be held Thursday, Nov.15, at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus, with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m.

The Renaissance Fund is a highly visible example of Penn State’s efforts to ensure student opportunity through scholarship support funded by private philanthropy -- the chief objective of the current $2 billion University-wide fundraising initiative, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. The annual dinner raises money in the honorees’ names.

Those contributions are used to endow Renaissance Fund scholarships, which are awarded to academically talented Penn State students who have great financial need. Since the fund’s inception in 1969, nearly $10 million has been raised. During the 2011-12 academic year, 422 students received Renaissance scholarships totaling $611,650.

In addition to their full-time positions as the CEO and CFO, respectively, of the Friedman Real Estate Group in State College, Pa., Ed and Charlene also have supported and volunteered with many community organizations over the past 30 years. Together and independently, they have served in leadership positions with the Center for Performing Arts, State College Area Food Bank, the Centre County United Way, Smart Start-Centre County, the Downtown State College Improvement District, and the Centre County Community Foundation, among many others.

The Friedmans also have maintained a strong relationship with Penn State. They are members of the Laurel Circle and have served on various development and advisory councils for the College of Health and Human Development, assisted with all of the University’s capital campaigns, and established two scholarships of their own -- the Edward A. Friedman Scholarship and the Nick Petnick Trustee Scholarship.

Ed earned a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University, a master's of business administration from the San Francisco State University, a juris doctor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and a master’s degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management from Penn State. His interest in the real estate field was inspired by his father, the late Sidney Friedman, who focused much of his career on real estate development in Centre County and also was a former Renaissance Fund honoree.

Charlene earned her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University. Originally intending to pursue a career in the education field, she became interested in the real estate industry when she moved to State College, Pa., in the late 1970s.

In addition to their busy schedules as business and civic leaders, the Friedmans also are the founders and owners of Mountain Edge Alpacas, located in Boalsburg, Pa. Established in 1997, the 175-acre ranch has since been featured in Alpaca’s Magazine, American Livestock and other national publications.

For Renaissance Fund dinner information or to make a contribution, contact Kathy Kurtz in the Office of Annual Giving at 814-863-2052 or klk13@psu.edu.

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