Longtime Penn State donors create student-athlete mentoring fund at Brandywine

Norman and Marietta Mawby

Norman and Marietta Mawby, longtime supporters of Penn State Brandywine and the University, have committed $20,000 to support a mentoring program for Brandywine’s student athletes.

Credit: Chester County Community Foundation

Norman and Marietta Mawby, longtime supporters of Penn State Brandywine and the University, have committed $20,000 to support a mentoring program for Brandywine’s student-athletes. Their contribution will create the Norman and Marietta Mawby Believe, Play and Have Fun Fund for Mentoring at Penn State Brandywine Athletics.

The Mawbys’ gift is from their Believe, Play and Have Fun Foundation, a donor-advised fund managed by the Chester County Community Foundation that was created in honor of Norm Mawby’s 80th birthday in 2015. The foundation primarily focuses on assisting students with education expenses.

“Our vision at Penn State Brandywine is to be a leader in student success, known for educating students to become respected professionals, leaders, creators, alumni and citizens,” Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells said. “The opportunity for our students to interact with an alumni mentor and to learn from their mentor’s career and life journey is invaluable. The Mawbys’ passion and generosity will enable us to launch this new mentoring program especially for our student-athletes to even better prepare them for successful careers and opportunities after graduation.”

Norm Mawby earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and letters from Penn State. The Mawbys have been supporting Brandywine athletics for the past 10 years and University athletics since the 1980s, in addition to holding football season tickets since the 1970s.

“My involvement with Brandywine goes back to John Vairo (the campus’ founding director), who was a good friend of mine,” Norm Mawby said. “And I’ve always been a supporter of athletic programs. I participated in athletics a little but not at the collegiate level. I was a basketball team manager in high school, so I started by supporting student managers for the Brandywine basketball teams.”

Mawby said the mentoring program will help student-athletes think about and prepare their post-graduation plans.

“This program will help student-athletes understand why they are in college and what they are going to do after they graduate,” he said. “The idea is to have Brandywine alumni and others give a perspective on what to expect after graduation and other valuable information.”

Penn State Brandywine Athletic Director Bobbi Caprice said the Mawbys’ gift will be very helpful in launching the mentoring program for junior and senior student-athletes.

“This is a new initiative that is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that all of our student-athletes have the support and guidance they need to be successful during their time at Brandywine and after graduation,” Caprice said. “Connecting our student-athletes with mentors will really help them with career development and thinking about their plans after graduation.”

Each academic year, mentors and mentees are expected to have at least one in-person meeting and four other “check ins.” Mentors will be primarily Brandywine athletic alumni, supplemented by others who have connections to Brandywine or a background in athletics. The mentor program builds upon the first-year seminar for incoming students and a sophomore-year check-in program.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mawbys for their support of this exciting new program and for their longtime support of Brandywine athletics,” Caprice said. “They are making a real difference for our student-athletes.”

The name of the Mawbys’ foundation — Believe, Play and Have Fun — reflects how Norm likes to close every conversation (“have fun”) and a rallying cry that became a trademark for former Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets pitcher Tug McGraw (“ya gotta believe”).

“It represents the way I look at things,” Mawby said. “I’ve told people all my life to have fun, and that’s how I end a conversation.”

The Mawbys have long been involved with public and community service. After Norm graduated from Penn State, served in the U.S. Army and taught high school, he embarked on a lengthy career in municipal planning and township management, earning a master’s degree in governmental administration from the University of Pennsylvania along the way. Norm chaired the West Chester University Council of Trustees, was a member of Penn State Brandywine’s Advisory Board and served on other nonprofit boards.

Marietta earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan before starting a career with the Chester County Department of Children and Youth. She also served on the board of the Chester County Domestic Violence Center.

The Mawbys’ gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.