Gift to support counseling services and treatment for substance use disorders

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — As Penn State works to meet growing student demand for counseling and treatment services for substance use disorders, a new $25,000 donation will honor a former directing and channeling resources to Listening and Psychological Services Center (CAPS) and the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) at Penn State.

The Gedrich Family Endowment for CAPS and CRC will provide joint funding in perpetuity to the two programs, contributing to the interconnected missions of these offices and encouraging greater partnership in their service delivery. CAPS helps undergraduate and graduate students by providing in-person and virtual counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and community education and outreach. CRC, on the other hand, connects to a more discerning segment of Penn State’s population, serving students recovering from alcohol and other substance-related disorders. Both programs are housed within Student Services.

The fund was established by Pat Gedrich and his sons with the dual purpose of expanding the student safety net and to commemorate her late husband, 1982 alumnus and longtime volunteer, Alan R. Gedrich, who passed away in October des after a battle with cancer.

“Highly visible funding priorities tend to get a lot of attention, but some of the most critical programs — those that serve the most vulnerable and at-risk students — can easily be dropped,” Gedrich said. “Alan was so committed to the idea of ​​a community that nurtures all of its members, especially those under duress, and that’s why we chose to fund these programs. CAPS and CRC provide essential treatment for mental health issues and addictions so that everyone has a chance to pursue their dreams and become their best selves.

Lori Strayer, Alcohol and Other Drugs Coordinator and Chief of SMART Recovery Group within CAPS, noted that the additional resources made available by the fund could help advance efforts to create a “no wrong door” scenario that ensures students receive attention, access services through increased availability, proactive educational outreach, or improved coordination between offices.

“CAPS is committed to providing high quality mental health care to every student who can benefit from our services,” Strayer said. “Even with the disruptions associated with COVID-19, our office served 3,200 students in the 2020-2021 academic year, and given the scale of the need, we are continually looking for ways to remove barriers and to increase access to ensure we can match students with the most appropriate treatment.

The psychological health strain caused by the pandemic has also affected students who need services at the Collegiate Recovery Community.

“Since we launched CRC in 2011, student demand for our services has always been strong, but as the pandemic has continued for almost two years, we are seeing new levels of stress and burnout, compounded by loneliness, which exacerbates overuse,” said Jason Whitney, CRC program coordinator and assistant professor at the College of Education. “Targeted intervention and tailored support have the power to change the baseline trajectory of lives of students, which is why fully funding these services is so crucial.The Gedrich family endowment is an important step towards achieving this goal.

Pat Gedrich’s commitment to helping Penn Staters is in part a result of the decades she and her husband have spent mentoring students, facilitating internships, and hosting programs in the Philadelphia area. Alan, who earned his accounting degree in 1982 from Smeal College of Business and then his JD from the University of Pittsburgh, became a tireless advocate for the University, volunteering on the Alumni Council of the Penn State Alumni Association and Executive Council. In 2013, he was named Council of Elders Member of the Year. Gedrich was also active with the Smeal College of Business Alumni Society, and he played a pivotal role in reinvigorating Smeal’s Philadelphia chapter. Additionally, he served on the Penn State Law Board of Advisors, drawing on decades of legal experience he accumulated as an attorney for Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, LLP.

“Alan loved Penn State, and he showed it by advancing the University’s mission in hundreds of tangible ways,” said Roger Williams, who served as executive director of the Penn State Alumni Association from 2003 to 2015. But beyond his service and his accomplishments, we all loved him for the qualities he embodied on a daily basis: humility, optimism, compassion and generosity.These are the attributes that have indelibly marked all those who served him. surrounded and that will leave a lasting mark on Penn State.

Penn State educated the Gedrich family over three generations. Alan’s father, sister, and uncle are all Penn State graduates, and in recent years Pat and Alan’s two sons, Austin and Ross, have taken up the Penn State mantle.

“For Alan and me, Penn State was there from the start and stayed with us until the end,” said Gedrich, who works as a sales manager for H&G Sign Company. “We met at a Penn State happy hour in Philadelphia. A year later, we got engaged at the Arts Fest. When we got married, we had friends from Germany and Amsterdam whom he had met while studying abroad. These same friends flew in for the funeral. It means so much to our family that we can do our part to strengthen Penn State after it has done so much for Alan and our children.

Gedrich is now encouraging other alumni and friends who have been inspired by her husband and who care about CAPS and CRC programs to consider contributing to the Gedrich family endowment.

The Gedrichs’ donation will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a targeted campaign that aims 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 21st century public university: keeping the doors of higher education open to students who work hard, whatever regardless of their financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence”, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

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