Penn State and the Invent Penn State initiative today are celebrating a $1 million gift from Altoona business leader Lee Hite and his family to support the LaunchBox at Penn State Altoona.
The Altoona LaunchBox is one of 21 innovation hubs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that Penn State has funded to provide early-stage startups with viable plans for growth and the support and resources needed to build a sustainable and scalable business. To recognize Hite’s gift, the University will rename the downtown Altoona center “The Hite Family LaunchBox for Innovation at Penn State Altoona.”
“Penn State and the Altoona community are deeply fortunate to receive this generous gift from the Hite family,” Penn State President Eric Barron said. “We believe that our innovation hubs are key to driving economic development in Altoona and across the commonwealth, and contributions from alumni, corporations and community partners like Lee will ensure that our innovation hubs can serve Pennsylvania’s communities for years to come.”
Opened in June 2017, the LaunchBox at Penn State Altoona has already graduated 24 startups, accepted four local startups as tenants, and maintained an average daily foot traffic of 15 entrepreneurs. While all services are available to anyone—community members, students and faculty—the LaunchBox at Penn State Altoona focuses its efforts on supporting community members who aspire to become business owners.
“My family and I are delighted to make this gift not only to support the LaunchBox at Penn State Altoona, but also to strengthen the Altoona community we care so deeply about,” Hite said. “We have built our livelihood through entrepreneurship, and with this gift we hope to help other aspiring entrepreneurs to find their own paths to success. We have long been devoted supporters of many local charities, but this giving opportunity was particularly exciting because at the core it’s about entrepreneurship.”
“My family and I are delighted to make this gift not only to support the LaunchBox at Penn State Altoona, but also to strengthen the Altoona community we care so deeply about.”
Chairman, The Hite Company