January 24, 2022

Message from Dean Lang

To: Liberal Arts Faculty and Staff
From: Clarence Lang

Dear Colleagues:

I hope that your week is off to a good start and that this message finds you well.

I am writing to make sure you are aware of incredible news regarding our college that became public at the end of last week. Shortly before the winter break, Gene and Roz Chaiken – our college’s top benefactors – shared with us that they were making an extraordinary gift that will dramatically increase their Chaiken Family Trustee Scholarship endowment and cover the balance of their pledges for other student-related funds, including the Chaiken Centennial Graduate Endowment and our new Chaiken Center for Student Success. 

While the Chaikens have asked that the amount of their gift not be disclosed, I can share that it is the largest one-time gift ever received by our college – or any other academic unit, for that matter. It also makes them the largest scholarship donors, and the fourth-largest donors overall, in Penn State history. Among other things, this incredible gesture will facilitate our college’s priority of advancing access, affordability, and career readiness for our undergraduate students. 

As discussed in this Penn State News article announcing their gift, the Penn State Board of Trustees – per the Chaikens’ request – also voted unanimously last week to officially name our college’s soon-to-be-constructed new building after Susan Welch to recognize her transformational leadership, and the foundation she built for our college, during her 28-year tenure as dean. ​Scheduled for completion in 2024, the Susan Welch Liberal Arts Building will house the departments of Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology and Criminology; the schools of Public Policy and International Affairs; the Matson Museum of Anthropology; the Population Research Institute; the McCourtney Institute for Democracy; and the Criminal Justice Research Center. When you have a moment, I encourage you to join me in congratulating Susan (sxw11@psu.edu) on this tremendously well-deserved honor. 

​Finally, in case you missed it in this morning’s Penn State Today, please note that Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) and the University will host another free COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 11 am to 5 pm on Wednesday, January 26, at the Bryce Jordan Center. Appointments will first be made available to Penn State students in need of first or second doses, or boosters, then extended to faculty, staff, and local community members.   

Best wishes in the meantime for the start of another productive week.



Clarence Lang
Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts
Professor of African American Studies

The Pennsylvania State University
111 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802