Schreyer Establishes Scholarship To Honor Student Who Died From COVID-19

Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College has established the Neil C. Patel Memorial Changemaker Honors Scholarship in memory of a student who died from COVID-19-related complications earlier this year.

The scholarship serves a tribute to Patel and a way to encourage students who share his commitment to family, community, education, and opportunity. The endowment will provide annual awards for Schreyer students who exemplify Patel’s dedication and passion.

“When Neil passed away, we lost a member of the Schreyer family,” Schreyer Honors College Dean Patrick Mather said. “Neil impacted so many of his fellow students during his years on our campus. Through this scholarship, we can ensure that he continues to inspire and support future generations of students as well.”

During his time at Penn State, Patel was a finance major in the Smeal College of Business, a member of the Sapphire leadership program, a THON finance committee volunteer, and an Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity brother. Earlier this year, Alpha Kappa Psi and the NeilStrong Foundation hosted a Red Cross blood drive in Patel’s honor.

“Giving back was such a theme to Neil’s life,” his mother, Hema Patel, said. “He wanted to make an impact on the world, be a changemaker.”

The scholarship will be awarded to students in Schreyer who are “changemakers,” a word identified by Patel’s friends.

“’Changemaker’ is an excellent word to sum up Neil,” said Nick Marino, Patel’s friend. “Neil created lasting change in so many ways — through his musical talent, his linguistic genius, and his confidence to grab an audience and hold onto it. But in my opinion, Neil’s most significant impact was all the little changes he made in each of us, the impressions he left on every person he met.

“Neil not only inspired you to be better — he also helped you achieve it,” Marino continued. “Grand change doesn’t always require grand plans, and Neil was a changemaker in his own way. One moment, one smile, and one ‘hi’ at a time. I’m sure recipients of the Neil C. Patel Memorial Changemaker Honors Scholarship will make change in their own way, too, just like Neil.”

Alumni, friends, and community members can make a gift to the scholarship fund here.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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