Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Hufnagels create jazz endowment ‘for the kids’

Bob and Sonia Hufnagel have made a substantial contribution to the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State to support music education for K–12 school students.

The Robert and Sonia Hufnagel Endowment for the Center for the Performing Arts will fund jazz music education and promote engagement for students with jazz performances, workshops, master classes, and artists-in-residence.

The gift bolsters the financial and leadership support the Hufnagels have offered to the Center for the Performing Arts and the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State for nearly a decade. The focus of the gift reflects Bob Hufnagel’s connection to jazz music and the couple’s desire to enrich the lives of young members of the community through education and interaction with diverse forms of art.

Bob’s affinity for engaging the younger community with music and other art forms doesn’t only flow through the Center for the Performing Arts. He has been a philanthropist in the community for nearly twenty years and often supports youth initiatives by giving to organizations such as the Palmer Museum of Art, WPSU, and the Centre County Youth Service Bureau.

“I’m in it for the kids,” he says. “The idea that struck a chord with me about doing a jazz education endowment is to bring the kids in to appreciate other forms of music and to stimulate a future for jazz locally and in the United States.”

Bob is chairman and CEO of State of the Art Inc., an electronic component design and manufacturing company based in State College. And although he isn’t a graduate of Penn State, he says his connection to the University and the Center for the Performing Arts has enriched his life and created a lifetime bond.

“The CPA gives us entertainment that we simply aren’t going to get anywhere else. Whether it’s national or local jazz acts, musicals, plays, and sort of off-beat shows like acrobatics, the CPA is the place to be,” he says. “It’s an amazing organization that we are proud to support through membership and any other way we can.”

As the couple was working with College of Arts and Architecture development staff members on the endowment, Hufnagel says his wife turned to him and asked, “Can we afford to do this?”

“Can we afford not to?” he recalls responding. “If one student is moved by the incredible art of jazz music, then it was all worth it.”

Center for the Performing Arts Director George Trudeau says the Hufnagels’ vision for the endowment will further his organization’s mission of community outreach.

“I am very grateful to Bob and Sonia for creating an endowment that will ensure that future generations of young people will have opportunities to experience and learn about the uniquely American music we know as jazz,” Trudeau says. “Their passionate and ongoing support for the Center for the Performing Arts is an inspiration to us all.”