$1.65 Million Gift From Wilkes-Barre Native George W. Bierly Creates Student Fellowships at Wilkes University

by Gabrielle D'Amico

A $1.65 million bequest to Wilkes University from the estate of Wilkes-Barre native George W. Bierly will be used to create fellowships for students that will expand learning opportunities outside the classroom.

The Bierly Fellowship at Wilkes University will support unique experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates. The award will help to fund a semester-long experience for a student and may include internships, study away or study abroad trips, or undergraduate research. The experience covered by the award can be credit or non-credit bearing. Awards can range from $500 to $5,000. The grant may be used for transportation, housing or for expenses related to the experiential learning experience.

“We are grateful to George Bierly for his gift. It is the kind of philanthropic support that will have a long-term impact, providing extraordinary opportunities for Wilkes students for years to come,” said Wilkes President Patrick F. Leahy. “When we speak about the unique experiences available to students at a small, world-class university like Wilkes, we are talking about opportunities like the one made possible through George Bierly’s gift.

Undergraduate students in any major will be eligible to receive a Bierly Fellowship one time – in either their sophomore, junior or senior year. Preference will be given to junior and senior students.

The Bierly Fellowship honors the late George W. Bierly. Bierly, a native of Wilkes-Barre, was a successful businessman and community leader. He graduated from Bucknell University Junior College, the institution that became Wilkes University, in 1940, and earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from MIT in 1943. Bierly was a member of the U.S. Army during World War II, serving in the European Theater. Bierly was appointed as an instructor at Penn State Wilkes-Barre in 1947. He was named administrative head in 1948, and eventually was named the director of campus in 1959. He retired in 1980. His community affiliations included the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, the United Way and the Westmoreland Club. 

Interested in learning more? Find out more information about the Bierly Fellowship at Wilkes University and apply by September 30 for the spring semester and February 1 for the summer and fall semester.

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