Board of Visitors’ Enrichment Fund Will Support Student Interns in Liberal Arts

"I was never so poor in my life than when I was a student,” said Penn State sociology alumnus Charles Kulp, recalling the financial challenges he faced while an unpaid intern in the attorney general’s office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “I had no money, but I had to buy five suits because I needed to wear one every day. I didn’t even have the funds to go out to lunch.”
Published: Jan 08, 2019

Kulp, a retired police officer, now serves on the Department of Sociology and Criminology Board of Visitors (BOV) in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts. The board serves as a bridge linking the department, students, and alumni and supports activities to promote the department’s national and international prominence, dedication to teaching excellence, and student development.

“Last November, we achieved our goal of formalizing at least 10 new internships for students,” Kulp said. “Our next goal was to provide financial support to help students take advantage of these experiences.”

With a lead gift and a challenge to his fellow board members, Kulp helped establish the Sociology and Criminology Board of Visitors Enrichment Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts. He asked the board to join him in raising a minimum of $50,000 to endow the fund and provide support for student internships. The fund quickly reached its minimum funding level and is still rising.

“We are fortunate to have very talented and passionate students, and we are deeply committed to doing all we can to help them acquire the knowledge and skills they will need to contribute to solving twenty-first-century social problems,” said Eric Baumer, professor and head of the Department of Sociology and Criminology. “Our capacity to achieve that objective will depend heavily on providing world-class enrichment opportunities to our students, including internships, study abroad experiences, and hands-on research opportunities. Our Alumni Board of Visitors has been instrumental in helping us develop a sound infrastructure for generating student enrichment opportunities, and their newly created enrichment fund will substantially increase our capacity to provide critical financial support to students as they capitalize on those opportunities.”

While Kulp was instrumental in making the lead gift and inspiring additional contributions, he emphasized that the fund represents a collaboration among the board, the department leadership, and Penn State. “The fact that so many stepped up to contribute to the enrichment fund reinforces why we do what we do,” he said. “It’s so gratifying to know that we are helping students gain skills for the future by helping them afford experiences where they can apply what they learn in the classroom and also bring that wealth of learning back to their fellow students.”

“We all have our own stories about what a difference internships made in our lives and our careers,” added BOV chair Michael Wagner, Esq., business counsel and vice president, contracts and administration for Crump Life Insurance Services, Inc. “This is our way of helping facilitate and fund great learning experiences for today’s and tomorrow’s students, which is a core objective of our board’s mission. I hope other alumni will see this as an opportunity to contribute to a meaningful endeavor.”

To make a contribution to the Sociology and Criminology Board of Visitors Enrichment Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts, please contact Tony Simon, director of major gifts, at or 814-865-3211.

The BOV Enrichment Fund helps to advance “A Greater Penn State for 21stCentury Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit