"Our Shared Legacy"

A Portrait of Giving: Donald Hamer

Donald W. Hamer

The way Donald W. Hamer sees it, conservation and economic development go hand-in-hand.

Hamer is proud of his track record of supporting land conservation projects through the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and other organizations; he’s confident his financial gifts have improved the value of the private land in Central Pennsylvania.

“My intentions aren’t purely environmental,” said Hamer, who moved to the State College, Pa., area in the 1960s. “We need to preserve some places as we grow, create wonderful parks and protect rare species and special plant habitat. These things have an impact on the value of the land around them.”

Hamer, the founder and chairman of State of the Art Inc., recently committed a $1 million gift to Our Shared Legacy, which is the largest outright individual gift commitment in the Conservancy’s history. Most of his gift will be used by WPC to conserve land within a 50-mile radius of State College.

Hamer, who earned engineering degrees and an MBA, served in the Navy at the end of World War II and during the Korean Conflict. He found himself in Central Pennsylvania for a job; It was only then that he learned his family’s roots stretch back 200 years to Huntingdon County, Pa.

He ultimately made a name for himself as his company became a leading manufacturer of high-reliability resistors in the microelectronics market.

A casual hiker, Hamer became enthusiastic about the Conservancy’s work when he met organizational leaders in the 1990s.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the synergy that occurs when many parties work together on a project,” he said. “It makes it well worth it.”