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April 25, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU alumna Jeanne Furrie leaves alma mater's largest legacy gift


Jeanne Powell Furrie, a 1945 Slippery Rock University physical education graduate and longtime University benefactor, has bequeathed the largest legacy gift in SRU's history - $735,000 to date - as part of her estate.

The funds have been earmarked for the Jeanne P. Furrie Scholarship fund at SRU with the first scholarships to be presented at next year's SRU Alumni Association Spring Recognition and Awards Banquet. The gift total is expected to increase once final paperwork is completed.

Furrie, of Monroeville, died April 14, 2013, at age 89.

The gift was announced and family members were recognized at SRU's Spring Celebration honoring SRU scholarship recipients and donors.

The gift funds an endowed scholarship to benefit SRU students.

"Slippery Rock lost a friend and champion when Jeanne Powell Furrie passed away. While I did not have the opportunity to meet Jeanne, I know she was an accomplished alumna who taught physical education for 22 years in the Penn Hills School District and, early in her career, graciously convinced the superintendent to approve varsity teams for women," Cheryl Norton, SRU president said.

"Furrie was never shy about giving back to SRU and believed that philanthropy starts in the home. When Jeanne was interviewed for The Rock magazine's 2008 spring issue, she passionately and eloquently stated, 'I think it's a privilege to give. I am fortunate to have a Slippery Rock University education, to also have put some money aside. I feel like I need to give it back so other students and other people will have the same opportunity I had,'" Norton said.

Furrie was a lifelong member of the SRU Alumni Association and served on its board of directors. In 2001, she was named a member of the SRU Athletic Hall of Fame for field hockey, a club sport in her days at SRU.

She was a member of the Ruby Lifetime Giving Club at SRU and had given generously to the Russell Wright Alumni House expansion project.

In 2007, Furrie received the alumni association's Past Presidents' Service Award, given annually by the association's board of directors to recognize an alumnus who makes the greatest overall contribution to the association.

Furrie was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Women's Guild.

She created the scholarship that bears her name in 1999.

She and her husband, Henry Furrie, were married 49 years and made their home in Monroeville. Henry Furrie, an educator at Gateway High School where he served as its first athletic director and health and swimming teacher, died in 1998. The Henry J. Furrie Scholarship Fund honors him and provides scholarships to Gateway High School students.

Before Furrie's gift, SRU's largest legacy gift totaled $485,000.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.