For scholarship donors at Stony Brook University, helping a student to pay for college means more than a donation. Behind every named scholarship, there is a human connection between the donor and recipient that goes far beyond financial support.
Those connections were on full display on Tuesday, March 12, as scholarship donors and recipients gathered at Flowerfield in St. James for the University’s annual scholarship celebration.
“This event is truly one of my favorites, because it brings together many different generations, all of whom care about and believe in the power of Stony Brook,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, himself a scholarship donor along with his wife, Dr. Ellen Li. “I never forget that behind each donation there is someone who consciously decided to invest in our students and our programs by making a gift to the Stony Brook Foundation.”
That decision has made a world of difference for Ariel Yang ’15 ’21, who is currently attending the Renaissance School of Medicine with support from the Sherry and Howard Sussman Scholarship, funded by Stony Brook Medicine doctors Sherry Sussman ’91 ’95 and Howard Sussman ’92 ’96. Growing up in the area, Yang didn’t come from a family of means, but financial support – including her current scholarship – has opened up a world of possibilities.
“We couldn’t do much more than live from month to month,” Yang said, recalling her childhood. “As a daughter who saw that, I couldn’t ask my mom to do something as far-flung as support my dreams. But without having to ask for it, Stony Brook more than provided for my needs.”
For scholarship donors, being able to hear those thanks and learn more about the students they support is immensely rewarding.
“It’s wonderful to watch all of them excel,” said Bob Schwartz ’75, who endows the Robert A. Schwartz Computer Science Scholarship along with his wife, Ellen Brown. “Both Ellen and I love spending time with them.”
For Senior Vice President for University Advancement Dexter A. Bailey Jr., who was able to greet the students he and his wife, Angela, support through the Bailey Family URECA Award, the scholarship celebration exemplifies what makes the Stony Brook community so special.
“There’s something truly rewarding about seeing with your own eyes the difference that a scholarship makes in a student’s life,” Bailey said. “Angela and I are proud to be part of a community that values that personal connection.”
For a full photo gallery from the scholarship celebration, click here.
– Elliot Olshansky