Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

HACC receives largest donation in its history, will be used for STEAM education

HACC President John Sygielski, HACC Foundation Executive Director Linnie Carter and Paxton family attorney Mark Mateya pose with the ceremonial big check.

The Paxton surname is one of the most recognizable in the Harrisburg area, as it’s shared with streets, buildings and even neighborhoods.

Now, to that list, you can add the largest single donation in the history of HACC.

Today, the HACC Foundation announced a gift of nearly $1.3 million to establish the John E. Paxton and Gloria W. Paxton Fund for Excellence in STEAM.

This fund will provide access to programming and technology for HACC students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programs.

“They could have given to any nonprofit, and they gave to us,” said Linnie Carter, executive director of the HACC Foundation. “That’s tremendous.”

The Paxtons lived in the Harrisburg area for much of their lives. John, a land survey engineer, was active in the Lawnton and Chambers Hill fire companies. He died in 2007.

Gloria was a member of the Humane Society of Harrisburg and the National Wildlife Federation. Her estate bequeathed the money to HACC following her death in 2017.

The Paxton family attorney, Mark Mateya, helped arrange the donation, and he attended today’s press conference on the HACC campus that announced the gift.

“The genesis of this gift is generosity,” he said. “The Paxtons had no children, but they were very involved in their community and were very good at saving money.”

According to HACC, the Paxton’s gift will provide for several STEAM programs and initiatives, including a mentoring program for underrepresented and marginalized first-time college students, a scholarship program, a fund to pay for textbooks, and the implementation of video classrooms.

“This historic gift we’ve received allows us to take this program to a whole new level,” said Stephen Ampersand, HACC’s vice president of student affairs and enrollment management. “We are aspiring to be a leader in STEAM programs. These resources will allow us to do that.”

For more information on the John E. Paxton and Gloria W. Paxton Fund for Excellence in STEAM, visit

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