New building named Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence

From a finalist pool of seven names, Steve and Nancy Sheetz have chosen the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence as the official name for Penn State Altoona’s new entrepreneurial center.

In the first contest of its kind at Penn State Altoona, all students were invited to submit names to be considered for the building. The winning name was submitted by Anthony Kattouf, a sophomore from Altoona majoring in political science. Kattouf received a $500 Sheetz gift card and a high-end electronic device provided by Best Buy. The remaining four finalists were each given $100 Sheetz gift cards.

A $3 million gift from Steve and Nancy Sheetz helped purchase and renovate the former Meyer Jonasson Building in downtown Altoona, Pa., which will be home to the entrepreneurial center. It will support academic research, education and community engagement in entrepreneurship, and serve as the home for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization.

Steve and Nancy care deeply about students and feel that the creation of such a center will provide an important educational opportunity that otherwise wouldn't exist in the region. The couple wanted student involvement throughout the transformation process of the building, and the idea of a naming contest came about at the end of the spring 2010 semester.

"When we made our gift to Penn State Altoona, a couple of our goals were to encourage entrepreneurship and to provide a pleasant business setting where students could gather and learn more about the business world," stated Steve Sheetz. "We feel it’s only fitting that the students who will utilize the new building have a hand in naming it. It certainly fits into the entrepreneurial spirit we are trying to encourage."

The contest and rules were announced to students during a Sheetz-catered luncheon in September.

A committee reviewed the 98 submissions, and the top seven names were sent to University Park for approval. Steve and Nancy then selected four finalists and the winner. Those five students enjoyed a private lunch with Steve and Nancy Thursday, Nov. 18, during which the couple announced their choice.