Foundation makes gifts in engineering alumnus' memory


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Ballantyne and Leonard Foundation has made commitments totaling $500,000 in memory of Jan William Leonard, co-founder of the foundation and a 1968 alumnus of the College of Engineering. Of the commitment, $250,000 will create the Jan William Leonard Endowment in support of the Summer Founders Program, an Invent Penn State initiative, and $250,000 will endow the Jan William Leonard Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering.

“This generous commitment from the Ballantyne and Leonard Foundation will support Penn State’s growing culture of entrepreneurship and innovation while also enabling us to welcome students from every economic background,” said O. Richard Bundy III, Penn State’s vice president for development and alumni relations. “Jan used his Penn State education to forge a remarkable career as an entrepreneur, and these gifts will enable current and future students to follow in his path toward their own success.”

Leonard, formerly of Salt Lake City, Utah, was a preeminent cableway engineer whose career greatly impacted the ski industry. In 1976, he and Mark Ballantyne co-founded Cable Transportation Engineering Company (CTEC), which went on to produce 149 chairlifts, detachable chairlifts and gondolas across the globe and employ up to 450 people. In 1985, Leonard and Ballantyne continued their partnership with the establishment of American Building Supply, a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of door, millwork and hardware products for residential and commercial applications. In 2008, Leonard added a third major venture to his resume when he co-founded Skytrac with partners David Metivier and Alan Hepner, which in 2010 became North America’s newest lift manufacturer. Leonard died in 2015 at age 69.

“The Ballantyne and Leonard Foundation is pleased to make this investment in entrepreneurship, innovation and educational opportunity at Penn State in memory of Jan,” said Mark Ballantyne. “Jan benefited greatly from his Penn State education, and through these gifts we hope to honor his memory while enabling others to seize the extraordinary opportunities Penn State offers. Hopefully, through this grant, others will develop the same work ethic, dedication and passion that Jan had in his career and his life.”

The Ballantyne and Leonard Foundation, formerly known as the American Building Supply Foundation, is a charitable foundation associated with American Building Supply and founded by Jan Leonard and Mark Ballantyne in 2003. Based in Sacramento, California, the foundation supports charitable entities in the areas of education, youth activities, social welfare, and arts and cultural endeavors.

Half of the foundation’s commitment to Penn State will create the Jan Willian Leonard Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering to support students with financial need who are following in Leonard’s footsteps as civil engineering majors.

The remainder of the foundation’s gift will help Penn State students to become, like Leonard, founders of their own entrepreneurial ventures. The Jan William Leonard Endowment in support of the Summer Founders Program will benefit a 13-week business accelerator that empowers student teams to work full-time on building a startup, social good or nonprofit venture over the summer. Hosted by Happy Valley LaunchBox, powered by PNC Bank, the Summer Founders Program provides teams with $10,000 each in funding, along with mentorship and resources, to scale their venture.

The gift to create the endowment leveraged a 1:1 University match through the Economic Development Incentive Matching Program, an initiative of the University’s current fundraising campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.” This is 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 hard-working students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

Donors who wish to take advantage of the Economic Development Incentive Matching Program can do so with gifts to select initiatives in any of Penn State’s colleges, campuses or units between now and the end of the campaign on June 30, 2021, or until available matching funds have been expended. For more information, contact the development staff in the college, campus or unit you wish to support.


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Amy Packard Ferro

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The Ballantyne and Leonard Foundation has made commitments totaling $500,000 in memory of Jan William Leonard, co-founder of the foundation and a 1968 alumnus of the College of Engineering. IMAGE: LEGACY.COM



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