Penn State philanthropists receive 2013 Honorary Alumni Award

When patients moved from the children's floor to the new, freestanding Children's Hospital building at Penn State Hershey Medical Center early in 2013, Jeanne Arnold said, "I had one grandmother just fall into my arms and sob. She had been staying for seven months with this very sick child. She was totally exhausted. Now she has a place where she can lie down, have a shower."

That's why Jeanne and Ed Arnold support Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and especially the Children's Hospital. "It's good to know that you're making a difference," she said. In addition to high-tech, state-of-the art operating rooms and equipment, the new building has comfort-oriented features like hospital rooms with space for parents or grandparents to sleep, play areas for young patients, and a plant-filled roof where patients can get outside from the third floor.

The Arnolds met through their earlier work at other hospitals. Jeanne, who has nursing degrees from the Rhode Island School of Nursing and St. Joseph's College of Maine, was senior vice president of patient care services at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, PA. Ed, who holds an accounting degree from the University of Notre Dame, was head of Arnold Industries (he is currently president of Arnold Holdings, LLC). After they married, Jeanne retired and dedicated herself to local volunteer work.

Before long, Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital became a focal point for the couple. Stories told to the Arnolds by mothers of critically ill children played a major role in getting them involved in the Medical Center, according to Ed. "You start to appreciate your life when you realize that some people, for no apparent reason, have some pretty horrible things happen." They heard from frustrated mothers who struggled to deal with their child's ongoing care after they were discharged. "Any time there was a problem, they brought the child back to the hospital," Jeanne said. So, in 2007 the Arnolds helped establish and endow Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital's Hummingbird Program, which gives parents access from home to a consultation service that offers comprehensive medical, psychological, social, and spiritual support.

In 2008, the couple established Camp Lion, a wellness and weight management program for boys, run by Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital and the Boy Scouts of America. The Arnolds have also supported a Penn State Hershey Medical Center program that facilitates genetic counseling for patients who can't afford it, a gazebo so dermatology patients can get out of the sun, colon cancer prevention initiatives, and many other vital projects and programs at Hershey.

The couple served as vice chairs of the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital Building Campaign Committee and were lead donors for the 263,000-square-foot, five-story hospital. In 2009, they were named Penn State Philanthropists of the Year.

Both Jeanne and Ed are cabinet members of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Jeanne chairs the Children's Hospital Development Committee and the Children's Miracle Network Fashion Show. She also is actively involved in many of the Medical Center's community health outreach activities, including health education and screening events conducted by Penn State Hershey nursing staff. The Arnolds are life members of the Penn State Alumni Association, and as of this May, Honorary Penn State Alumni.