The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Penn State mourns passing of philanthropist and arts patron Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer (left) with longtime friend Mimi Coppersmith

Barbara Palmer, whose lifetime of philanthropy is evident across Penn State and the Centre region, died peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 20. She was 93. Recognized by the University as an honorary alumna in 1987, Palmer was deeply engaged as a donor and a volunteer at the institution and in many organizations throughout the region.

“Barbara Palmer may not have graduated from Penn State, but she embodied the very best of what it means to be a Penn Stater,” said President Eric J. Barron. “She believed that our University had a responsibility to serve the people of Pennsylvania through creating access to education and the arts. From the citizens who visit the Palmer Museum of Art to the students who benefit from the scholarships she and her late husband, James, created, Barbara’s generosity and spirit will continue to touch thousands of lives, and her vision will continue to guide us far into the future.”