Friends and colleagues created the Paul R. Poffenberger Scholarship in his honor in July 1981 to support a student in agriculture who shows the greatest potential for making significant contributions to education and development in agriculture. This fund honors Paul Poffenberger's retirement as associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Warmly remembered for his sincere and genuine interest in helping students succeed, Poffenberger was instrumental in establishing the student loan program at Maryland and was director of the Office of Scholarships for four years. He also was chairman of the Department of Agricultural Economics and served in the college as assistant dean from 1956 to 1969 and associate dean from 1969 until he retired 1981.
Paul R. Poffenberger and his family have a long history with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources that began in 1931 when he enrolled as a student. Poffenberger, one of seven children from a Hagerstown, MD farm family, was the only one to attend college. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1935, he briefly taught vocational agriculture and returned to Maryland to earn a master's from the Department of Agricultural Economics in 1937. He also served in WWII; married Gladys Leonard, who was a nurse on campus when he met her; and earned a doctorate in economics at American University.
Poffenberger was instrumental in establishing the student loan program at Maryland and was director of the Office of Scholarships for four years. He was chairman of the Agricultural Economics Department and served in the College as assistant dean from 1956 to1969 and associate dean from 1969 to his retirement in 1981. He attended and supported many campus events until his death in 1996.
Poffenberger is warmly remembered for his sincere and genuine interest in helping students to succeed. He believed in the value of teaching and advising. He was a mentor to hundreds of students who have graduated from the College and advanced to successful careers throughout the United States. For many of the students he was their cheerleader, helping them through the difficult times and challenging them to exceed their academic abilities. His daughter, Linda Foreman '71, M.S. '74, remembers her father calling students who took a leave of absence from the university and asking when they were coming back. "Even now, when people talk about him, they say 'He pulled me through'" says Foreman. "Education was the key to success for him. He invested his life in the university and wanted it to be his legacy."
To honor Poffenberger on his retirement in 1981, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, along with support from the agricultural community, alumni, family and friends, started a scholarship in his name. Over 160 people and groups contributed to the initial scholarship fund. "What makes this scholarship really special is that my father spent so much of his career helping kids obtain scholarships," says Linda Foreman. "It is a very appropriate tribute to him."
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