Beyond the already costly rates of college tuition and housing, students may have unexpected expenses, from repairing a car to an extra charge for enhanced educational experiences. To support Penn State University students in such circumstances, Helen and Rob Diemer created the self-named Student Emergency Fund in the Department of Architectural Engineering.

Helen and Rob, who both earned their Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degrees from Penn State in 1981, said that the architectural engineering department was integral to their growth — and with their $25,000 endowment, the couple wants to return the favor.

Upon graduating from Penn State, Helen and Rob started work at a consulting engineering firm in Minneapolis. The couple later moved to New York City where they held numerous positions, including at the Flack + Kurtz engineering firm where Helen worked as director of lighting design services and Rob as an associate principal. Later, Helen began working at The Lighting Practice, becoming a principal in 1996 and majority owner in 2009 before rising to her current role. Rob worked at the AKF engineering firm starting in 1992, eventually becoming a partner and member of the executive committee before retiring in 2020.

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