Mary O’Neill Marsh establishes endowment for University Libraries’ Tech Academy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Libraries have always been important to Mary O’Neill Marsh, who grew up in State College as an avid reader. As a result, she has established Penn State University Libraries’ Mary O’Neill Marsh Tech Academy Endowment, which funds University Libraries initiatives and programs to develop students’ digital literacy skills.

A 1969 Penn State graduate in law enforcement and corrections and a longtime supporter of her alma mater, Marsh worked at the Health and Human Development Library during her time at Penn State. She enjoys “supporting students and doing what (she) can to make their lives easier.” When she learned about the Penn State Tech Academy, she expressed great interest in supporting it, noting that it was a program she would have needed if she were a student.

“In today’s world, IT skills are essential and will be even more so in the future,” Marsh said. “Students enter college with varying degrees of exposure to technology, and the Tech Academy can help level the playing field for them.”

A service of the University Libraries, the Tech Academy provides a basic introduction to the essential and freely available technology students will need to be successful at Penn State. The program’s goal is to achieve digital equity among students as they learn and navigate new technologies for learning using vital, free and loanable items such as laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, cameras and more to succeed in the classroom.

Since its inception, the Tech Academy has seen more than 12,000 students enrolled in its programming at 19 campuses and four University Park colleges, empowering them to feel confident and competent to find and utilize the latest technology resources at Penn State.

“Thanks to Mary O’Neill Marsh’s generosity, the University Libraries will have funding in perpetuity to support Tech Academy and similar programs,” said Jennie Levine Knies, University Libraries associate dean for Commonwealth Campus Libraries. “Foundational digital literacy skills are vital to a positive learning experience, and programs like the Tech Academy ensure that all incoming students will understand the most important technologies necessary to succeed at Penn State.”

Read more about the impacts of the Tech Academy program, a solution to frequently asked student questions about academic technology identified and created by Penn State librarians at the Robert E. Eiche Library at Penn State Altoona.

Donors like Mary O’Neill Marsh advance the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve and lead. Through philanthropy, alumni and friends are helping students to join the Penn State family and prepare for lifelong success; driving research, outreach and economic development that grow our shared strength and readiness for the future; and increasing the University’s impact for families, patients and communities across the commonwealth and around the world. Learn more by visiting