Ports endowment supports Penn State Altoona's student food pantry, Ivyside Eats

Marty Port
Credit: Image provided

ALTOONA, Pa. — Marty and Barbara Port, of Tampa, Florida, have created a $25,000 endowment that will support Penn State Altoona’s Ivyside Eats food pantry in perpetuity.

Ivyside Eats is an on-campus food pantry that offers non-perishable food items and toiletries for students facing food insecurity.

“Barbara and I are happy to establish an endowment for the benefit of Ivyside Eats. Part of our motivation is guided by history,” said Marty. “Our family was instrumental in the food service industry in central Pennsylvania and beyond for many years. Further, in 2001, the Hickory Court Café at Penn State Altoona was rededicated as the Port-Sky Café in honor of gifts to the campus from my brother, Neil Port, and his wife Mickey and my cousins Phil and Roz Sky. Given that history, it was a natural fit that our endowment be linked to food.”

Marty was born and raised in Altoona. During his senior year of high school, Marty attended Penn State Altoona, then known as the Altoona Undergraduate Center, for college credit. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in science from University Park in 1967. He earned his master's in physiology from the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in 1972 and his doctorate from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine in 1977.

In 1983 he purchased a podiatry practice in Tampa, from which he retired in 2018. He currently is an adjunct instructor in anatomy and physiology at the Hillsborough County Community College – Brandon Campus in Tampa.

Barbara graduated from Ohio State University in 1968 and went on to become a dental hygienist.

“Marty and Barbara’s gift will have a long-term and positive impact on our ability to address the food insecurity experienced by some of our students,” said Penn State Altoona Chancellor and Dean Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. “I appreciate their passion for supporting this cause. Their philanthropy provides critical support for our students in financial need who sometimes do not have enough money to eat. Their gift will be a lifeline as a student’s ability to learn is adversely affected by hunger. On behalf of our students and college, I express my sincere thanks to Marty and Barbara for their generous gift.”

This is the first endowment supporting Ivyside Eats at Penn State Altoona and the third supporting food pantries University-wide. The Ports said they hope their endowment inspires others in the Penn State Altoona community to consider assisting with Ivyside Eats.

Gifts to Ivyside Eats will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century 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 21st-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 greaterpennstate.psu.edu.