Like many Penn Staters, Alan and Lucy Wright have a special connection with the University. They met while Alan was an undergraduate and Lucy was a staff member, working in the business office. Three of their children and two of their grandchildren later attended the University. They are ardent Penn State football fans, and spent many years driving from their hometown of York to State College to attend football games.
What sets the Wrights apart is their generosity—they recently made a pledge to establish the Lucy and Alan Wright Family Scholarship in Landscape Architecture, to benefit undergraduates with superior academic records and demonstrated financial need.
“Providing a scholarship will allow students of the future to concentrate more on college life, instead of worrying about the financial burden they will have coming out of school,” said Alan.
Alan began his career in landscape architecture in the Marines, when he was assigned to the 8th Engineer Battalion as an engineering officer. His duties included participation in the planning and design of a training base on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, followed by the assignment of project control officer during the construction of the base.
“I felt very well prepared to do the work I was involved with, thanks to my Penn State education,” said Wright. “I discovered that early on when I went into the Marines Corps, and they sent me to the military engineering school at Camp Lejeune, N.C.—I was well prepared to go right into that.”
After three years in the Marines—including being stationed in the Caribbean for several months immediately prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis—Wright finished his obligation and then joined the engineering and planning firm of Buchart Horn in York, Pa., where he spent 22 years. He later became a partner in James R. Holley & Associates of York , a civil engineering and landscape architectural firm established by a former Buchart Horn employee. Alan retired from James R. Holley & Associates as a partner and vice president.
Some of Alan’s career highlights include designing Codorus State Park in York County, Pa.; Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland, near Camp David; and Water Country USA near Williamsburg, Va.
He fondly remembers taking classes in Tyson Building (at the time, the Landscape Architecture program was part of the Department of Horticulture).
“We were the first class to graduate from Beaver Stadium located where it is today. I remember looking out the window of Tyson Building as they were hauling pieces of the old Beaver Stadium over to the current location,” Wright recalled. “That was something to behold—a landmark thing for the Class of 1960 to graduate from the new stadium. They barely got the grass in place in time!”
The Wrights encourage other Penn Staters considering making a gift to the University to think about what their Penn State education has meant to them.
“Look at it not only financially, but from the standpoint of networking,” said Alan. “If you’re in a position financially to consider making a gift, look at what Penn State has given you to be in that position.”
For more information on making a gift to the College of Arts and Architecture, visit artsandarchitecture.psu.edu/philanthropy.