Penn State Applications, Donations Increase, Erickson Says

Pennsylvania State University, reeling from the fallout of child sex-abuse allegations against a former football coach, said applications for admission and alumni-association memberships are exceeding last year’s levels.

Undergraduate admission applications have risen 3.4 percent so far this year, Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a letter e-mailed to alumni yesterday. Memberships in the school’s alumni association, the biggest in the U.S., have gained 2 percent to 166,842, according to the letter.

Charges that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abused boys rocked Penn State’s image and led to the dismissal last month of President Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno. Erickson has said the school will work with groups that fight rape and child sex abuse and establish a Center for Protection of Children for research and treatment of victims.

“As a university and a community, we have endured a great deal, but our core mission and values remain intact,” Erickson said in the letter. “Penn Staters are defined by our hard work and accomplishments, and there’s still great demand to be part of our community.”

Applications for 2012 undergraduate admission increased to 49,611 from 47,959 a year earlier, said Annemarie Mountz, a spokeswoman for the State College, Pennsylvania-based university, in an e-mail today.

Giving Fund

Donations to Penn State’s annual giving fund from July through November climbed to $7.6 million, compared with $3.9 million in the same period last year, Mountz said.

A grand jury charged Sandusky in November with 40 counts of molesting eight boys from 1994 to 2009. He has denied wrongdoing. He was arrested and charged today with abusing two more victims who were children at the time they were allegedly assaulted. Sandusky’s lawyer, Joseph Amendola, didn’t immediately reply to e-mail and phone messages seeking comment.

Paterno, who won a record 409 games as Penn State’s coach, and Spanier haven’t been accused of criminal wrongdoing.

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