Barnes and Noble College announces grants to student programs across University

The annual program has distributed $118,000 to support nine initiatives at seven campuses during this funding cycle.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In a continuation of its longtime partnership with Penn State, Barnes & Noble College, a Barnes & Noble Education company, which operates the Penn State Bookstore, has awarded a 2022-23 round of grants to support a range of programs and initiatives across the University. Since the company launched the grant program in 2015, a total of $1.155 million has been awarded to priorities that offer direct benefit to the University community, with a focus on programs related to books and reading. This year, the grant program distributed $118,000 across nine University initiatives from seven Penn State campuses.

“Our partnership with Barnes & Noble College is one that has proven to have exceptional results,” said Dave Lieb, Penn State’s senior associate vice president for development. “From providing support to students with financial need to encouraging critical thinking and more engaged learning, these initiatives will further extend the positive impact our colleges and campuses have on a Penn State student’s education.”

To target its investments for maximum impact across Penn State’s colleges and campuses, Barnes & Noble College works through the Corporate Engagement Center to announce the grant program and facilitate the funding requests and awards. This latest call for proposals resulted in 16 funding requests from a range of units across the University.

“As always, we are thrilled to be supporting such a diverse set of initiatives across so many Penn State campuses that will ultimately further enhance the college experience for students,” said Jennifer Guyer, general manager of the Penn State Bookstore.

The following initiatives were selected to receive funding:

Penn State Abington Access to Digital Courseware

Affording digital course materials can be another hurdle for undergraduates already struggling with the cost of their education, but thanks to grant support, 150 Pell-grant eligible students at Penn State Abington will receive gift cards to offset the cost of these materials. 

Penn State Abington Four Years to Financial Literacy

Establishing a strong financial foundation during the college years can lead to a lifetime of security, and support from Barnes & Noble will allow Penn State Abington to develop and deliver programming that speaks to students’ concerns across the span of their education.

Penn State Beaver Library Wellness Collection at the Relaxation Station

The Relaxation Station at the Penn State Beaver Library helps students to explore the mind-body connection for improved learning outcomes and overall well-being, and grant funding will create a collection of books and digital devices to address these whole-student needs.

Penn State Berks Common Reading Program

This program aims to connect first-year students at Penn State Berks with the existing campus community through shared conversations around texts chosen to highlight larger societal issues, and the Barnes & Noble award will help with the cost of the books and an author lecture.

Penn State Great Valley Bookstore Scholarships

Scholarships can have special impact for graduate students, who often are carrying debt from their undergraduate education and have increased financial responsibilities. These burdens will be eased for recipients of $2,500 scholarships plus a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card to purchase textbooks.

Harrisburg Campus Book Conversation: “Messy Roots” by Laura Gao

This campus-wide event, organized by the Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg, aims to foster a passion for reading, community and lifelong learning, particularly among first-year students. Participants will receive a free copy of Gao’s graphic memoir at a lecture by the author. 

Penn State Health and College of Medicine PRO Wellness and STEM Reading Connection in Schools

In service of the Penn State PRO Wellness mission to educate and inspire children, youth and their families to make healthy choices, Growing Up STEM powered by PNC provides school-aged children an opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and math concepts and professions through a curriculum focused on play and learning.

University Park Eberly College of Science Penn State In-Service Workshops in Astronomy (PSIWA)

PSIWA aims to help high-school and some middle-school teachers, particularly those from underserved school districts, to more confidently and effectively educate students about forefront topics in astronomy, physics and technology, growing the number of college-ready STEM proficient students in Pennsylvania and beyond.

University Park Smeal College of Business PSU 6 Reading Assignment

Grant support will provide First-Year Seminar students with copies of a book that resonates with Smeal’s core values and support a visit by the author, helping to engage participants with the material and the Smeal community on a deeper level and reinforce the college’s culture of diversity, honor and integrity, and sustainability.

2023-24 grant applications

The next round of grant applications for the 2023-24 academic year will open on May 1 and close on May 31. Barnes & Noble College has a particular interest in hearing from programs that are related to books or reading, have ties to Penn State campuses, focus on Penn State students or local communities with financial or finance-related needs and have the possibility of engaging the local Barnes & Noble College campus bookstore. Contact Beth Colledge, director of corporate engagement, at [email protected] for more information about the grant program or awards.

With the record-breaking success of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” which raised $2.2 billion from 2016 to 2022, philanthropy is helping to sustain the University’s tradition of education, research and service to communities across the Commonwealth and around the globe. Scholarships enable our institution to open doors and welcome students from every background, support for transformative experiences allows our students and faculty to fulfill their vast potential for leadership, and gifts toward discovery and excellence help us to serve and impact the world we share. To learn more about the impact of giving and the continuing need for support, please visit

About the Corporate Engagement Center

The Corporate Engagement Center connects industry partners to strategic opportunities at Penn State for research and development, philanthropy, and talent recruitment. Brought together in 2019, the center serves as a hub for industry/University relationships, supporting companies as they navigate the vast resources of Penn State. The team is here to help build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of University Development, working in partnership with Career Services.