Samuel L. Abrams, a Harrisburg businessman, distinguished himself through a lifetime of participation in the Harrisburg community through philanthropic, social and political activities.
Born in Lithuania, Mr. Abrams was brought to the United States and Harrisburg at the age of three by his parents. He attended city schools, graduating from Harrisburg Technical High School in 1922. After obtaining his degree from Penn State, he joined B.Abrams & Sons Inc., the scrap metal processing firm that his father, brother and he founded.
In 1966, shortly after completing eight years as a member of the board of Directors of the Harrisburg School District, Mr. Abrams established the Samuel L. Abrams Foundation to help deserving graduates and faculty members of the Harrisburg school system further their education and obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees.
At that time Mr. Abrams noted that when he attended Tech High School, he had taken a commercial curriculum because he had not believed that his family could afford to send him to college. At his graduation, though, when he realized that most of his friends were going on to college, he decided that he wanted to go as well.
The next four years were a struggle. With some difficulty he was able to gain admission to Penn State; however, without a college prep background he had to work harder than most other students to succeed. Paying for a college education placed a financial burden on his parents, but they made sacrifices, and he worked to earn extra money. When he graduated in 1926, the difficulties that he had experienced had instilled in him a strong appreciation for the value of a college education. The Foundation was one way for him to share that conviction and his success with his community.
Since 1966, both the funding and the scope of the Foundation have greatly expanded. While aid to professionals is still restricted to those employed by the Harrisburg School District, student assistance is now available to graduates of many area schools.
* The Foundation is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.