Benefactors’ $2.6M Gift to Support Presidential Priorities at The University of Scranton

May 12, 2016

Sometimes one key decision can alter the course of an entire life.

A loyal and generous alumnus and lifelong friend of The University of Scranton remembers clearly one of the critical decisions that eased his burden as a young person and has shaped his perspective on the world since.

The time was the mid-1970s. He was in his junior year at the University, newly married, earning good grades as a business student and making his mark as a student athlete, yet he was struggling financially.

The young couple visited the University’s Financial Aid Office with at least a measure of fear for their futures and asked what could be done. The office’s ultimate decision to support its student-athlete in a time of need became a turning point the couple has never forgotten.

The student-athlete received the funding he needed to finish school, and, as he tells his story, every piece after that just seemed to fall into place to build what is now a successful and rewarding career at the highest levels of the college-sports world in one of the biggest college-sports states in the country.

Looking back, he said, the decision was one of the key things in his life that could have gone either way. He’s not sure any other school would have done for him what Scranton did. That’s why, 40-plus years later, the receiver has become the giver, one who could not be prouder to return the favor several times over by making a $2.6 million gift to the University, designating it for presidential priorities.

Just don’t try to credit him or his wife, who has enjoyed a successful career in nursing.

“This couple, who wish to remain anonymous, did not make this gift for recognition,” Gary Olsen, vice president for University Advancement, explained. “But they do hope to inspire others to support and give to Scranton.”

The donors have repeatedly said the University helped make their lives fulfilling.

“They also have stressed that they are not the only people who can say Scranton has made them who they are,” Olsen said, noting the company of leadership givers they have joined, people who say Scranton permanently changed them for the better.

Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., University president, has personally met many such givers in his tenure at Scranton and can vouch for the humility he encounters on a regular basis.

“These donors have truly answered St. Ignatius’ call ‘to love and serve in all things’,” said Fr. Quinn. “They are servant leaders with servant hearts, and they are as humble as they are generous. We are extremely grateful for the transformations their selflessness will make possible at Scranton.”

Fr. Quinn and Olsen both stressed the family atmosphere and mindset present at Scranton that motivated the benefactors to give so generously.

Despite having led richly rewarding lives away from campus, Fr. Quinn said, these benefactors say the best times of their life took place in Scranton, and they’ll neither forget their first apartment nor the people who surrounded them then and remain in their lives today.

Olsen noted that the couple stress “the real sense of community felt at Scranton.”

The former student-athlete sees Scranton as the place that lays the firm foundation, Olsen said, adding, “He attributes all of the successes he has gone on to have to the great experiences he has had here.”

“One truly great thing about Scranton is that it really is a student-first organization, our donor has told us,” Olsen said, noting it was that way when the student-athlete came to campus shortly after it went co-educational, and it remains so today.

“This significant gift will help this University continue to serve its students with the personal attention they deserve as individuals who have come here to learn where they want to make their mark and exactly how they want to set the world on fire in the Ignatian tradition,” said Fr. Quinn.

Supporting such self-discovery is extremely important to these esteemed benefactors. “These donors have told us you really do find out who you are and what you want to do with your life when you come to Scranton,” said Fr. Quinn. “Entrusted with this wonderful gift, we will use it wisely to continue to mold and shape our students as leaders and innovators who never forget they are men and women for and with others.”

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