As a student programmed-and-operated radio station, The LION is integral to the Penn State experience and provides a voice for the student body. The LION has been a platform for many students to gain valuable experience over the years and go on to successful careers in journalism, broadcasting, advertising, and related fields. A unique feature of The LION is that membership is open to students of any academic major, as well as graduate students, members of the faculty, and townspeople.
A recently endowed scholarship, the Michael D. Walsh Student Broadcasters Trustee Scholarship, is helping to support the students who run The LION.
The scholarship was initiated in 2014 with a gift from Michael Walsh, a Penn State alumnus who graduated with a bachelor’s in telecommunications from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
“I was excited to strengthen Penn State student radio through this scholarship because it occupies a distinctive place amongst Penn State’s student organizations,” said Walsh. “It enables people anywhere in the world to literally hear some of the life of the Penn State campus and Nittany Valley communities. As a powerful platform for free expression, for artistic creativity, and for authentically diverse perspectives, The LION has for decades brought people together in a way no other student organization does. I hope this scholarship increases access for Penn Staters to become a part of the continuing tradition of student radio.”
The Penn State Media Alumni Interest Group – one of more than 300 Alumni Association affiliate groups – led the fundraising efforts to raise the $50,000 needed to permanently endow the scholarship. In 2019, the group met their fundraising goal.
“Penn State has been a leader in broadcasting college radio since the Senior Gift of the Class of 1912 led to WPSC and some of the earliest student broadcasts in American history,” said Tom Shakely, Penn State alumnus and campaign chair for the scholarship. “Penn State student broadcasters enrich the campus and community through the free expression of the human voice. Now, thanks to the generosity of alumni from across many generations, students will continue to benefit from the establishment of the Michael D. Walsh Student Broadcasters Trustee Scholarship and will have the potential to participate in this distinctive Penn State tradition of student broadcasting without being as burdened by the cost of their degree.”
Since its establishment in 2014, the scholarship has provided more than $25,000 of support to students.
The Penn State Media Alumni Interest Group was also instrumental in the installation of the Student Broadcasting historical marker in 2017. The marker, located outside of Sparks Building, celebrates the long history and significance of student broadcasting at Penn State.
The scholarship is open to Pell-eligible undergraduate students with preference given to members of The LION 90.7 FM. Members of the University and community can contribute to this by visiting www.giveto.psu.edu/walshscholarship.
Hands down, The LION 90.7fm was the best part of my Penn State experience. Experience running a federally licensed radio station, experience managing budgets and a large team, experience with stakeholders, fundraising, and most important: learning how to speak in a compelling and relevant way in public.
I hope many generations are still to follow.