Posted: November 17, 2020

Eugene and Carol Schurman and Christy Bartley, all retired Penn State Extension employees, have pledged estate gifts to support Pennsylvania 4-H.

Three long-time Penn State Extension employees have demonstrated their support for and dedication to Pennsylvania 4-H through two separate estate commitments.

Eugene and Carol Schurman, both Penn State alumni and retired extension educators in Indiana County, have pledged their estate gift to benefit four existing funds. These funds include the Eugene and Carol Schurman Trustee Scholarship, the Eugene and Carol Schurman Endowment for the 4-H Program in Indiana County, the 4-H Forever Endowment, and the Indiana County 4-H Program Fund.

Christy Bartley, a retired statewide leader of 4-H youth development programs, pledged $25,000 to create the 4-H State Leader Endowment. This endowment will provide funding for use by the 4-H state leader to support their work and the 4-H program.

The Schurmans have a long history in Penn State Extension and with 4-H. Carol, a 1973 animal industry graduate at Penn State, became a 4-H educator in Indiana County. Eugene, who earned his master's degree in dairy science from Penn State, started his extension career in Franklin County before becoming a high school agriculture teacher in Indiana. After four years of teaching, Eugene returned to extension.

While Eugene was involved in FFA growing up, 4-H was a big part of Carol's youth.

“It was a real outlet," said Carol. “I lived on a dairy farm and besides school, we didn't have a lot of other options for things to do. It got me to see other people, go places, and participate in regional and state events. It was that early 4-H involvement that helped set the stage for my future."

Both Eugene and Carol credit scholarships with helping to make college affordable. The help they received ultimately inspired them to create the Eugene and Carol Schurman Trustee Scholarship, which will be bolstered through part of their estate commitment. They also want to help advance the Department of Animal Science at Penn State and 4-H, especially in Indiana County, they said.

Bartley, a graduate of Muhlenberg College, started her professional life as a teacher. After getting a master's degree in science education, she accepted a position in Penn State Extension in Monroe County as a 4-H educator. She eventually ended up at the University Park campus and worked her way up to becoming the Penn State Extension assistant director for 4-H youth development programs. She retired with 28 years of service. With her experience, Bartley understands firsthand the challenges 4-H leaders face in pursuing new and different opportunities that benefit the program and the youth involved.

“As a past 4-H leader, I understand there are challenges in finding the funding to do some of the programming you'd really like to do," she said. “This endowment will provide the 4-H leader the opportunity to do some experimenting, reach new audiences, and expand opportunities for the 4-H youth across the state."

Both the Schurmans and Bartley understand the importance of 4-H and the opportunities it provides to Pennsylvania youth.

“I think from a youth development perspective, 4-H is the premier youth organization," said Carol Schurman. “I think it does a super job at developing youth and getting them ready for life and to use their 4-H activities to develop into a career."

Bartley agreed, noting that, “4-H is a program that can reach all youth in Pennsylvania.

“There are so many more opportunities now than when I was a kid, regardless of where you live, from agriculture to robotics to rocketry, and so much more," she said. “It also teaches values that are important, such as leadership, citizenship and teamwork."

For Bartley, creating this fund to support 4-H was something she'd wanted to do for a while. She hopes her initial gift inspires others to give in support of the fund.

“Sitting in that chair back then, I wished I had the money to do different things," said Bartley. “I hope this is a steppingstone that may encourage others to provide the funding that's so needed. It's also very easy to make an estate commitment and not have to worry about impacting my retirement funds."

The Schurmans also hope their gift inspires others to think of 4-H and the youth involved when it comes to their giving. They currently are trying to grow the Eugene and Carol Schurman Endowment for the 4-H Program in Indiana County with contributions from others. They understand the positive impact these types of gifts can have.

“It was logical for us to give to these endowments," said Carol. “We've supported Penn State and 4-H our whole lives. This will help support 4-H at all levels, as well as helping students get through college without having as much debt when they finish."

Individuals interested in exploring the option of estate gifts to 4-H or other College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension priorities as part of their philanthropy can contact Lauren Steinberg, senior director of development in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences represents the foundation of Penn State and its land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, the University is pursuing "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced campaign focused on the three key imperatives of a twenty-first-century public university: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World. Through teaching, research, and Extension, and because of generous alumni and friends, the College of Agricultural Sciences is able to offer scholarships to one in four students, create life-shaping opportunities, and make a difference in the world by fueling discovery, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To learn more about supporting the college, visit Information about the campaign is available at

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