HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A $5 million gift from an anonymous donor is bringing new and improved opportunities to Juniata College.

“The donor was very specific in the fact that they love Central Pennsylvania,” said Jim Watt, vice president for advancement at Juniata College. “They love the outdoors, they love all the things that our area and region has to offer.”

What began as a vacation in Huntingdon County, turned into an investment in Juniata College students’ futures.

“What [the donor] specifically wanted is for our students to go out and live and learn and have fun in that environment,” said Watt.

About 40 students graduate from Juniata College with majors in environmental science each year. Watt said this funding can help open doors for even more students.

“We want to make sure that students have access to education, they have access to the ability to study the environment, so we’re going to do some scholarships,” said Watt.

Once on campus, students can study at the Raystown Field House, a living learning hub for environmental research. Watt said it’s a program that always has a waitlist.

“One of the great things that these dollars are going to do, is its going to expand that center so we can have more students studying out of the field station for a whole semester,” said Watt. “We’re going to improve that area and introduce some new, really cool lab equipment that students can go and study, and kind of play with and learn from.” 

Watt said it’s not only an investment in the environment but also their students who will help preserve it.