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Southern Journeys

Why we give. Why it matters. Charitable Giving Report

Dear Alumni and Friends, On behalf of the entire SCSU Foundation team, we would

support provided through the SCSU Foundation, she

like to express our sincere gratitude. It has been an outstanding

had the freedom to embark on numerous leadership

year for Southern — and the future of the university and its

opportunities at Southern and beyond.

students is filled with promise. Donor support of university

• In recognition of the central role Southern played in

scholarships and programs is at a record-high level, and the

their lives, members of the Drobish family created an

foundation’s endowments are performing well. Equally

endowed scholarship to benefit an in-state student

important, a strong partnership unites the leaders of the

who is involved in his or her community and holds a

university, the Alumni Association, and the SCSU Foundation.

leadership position at the university.

As Southern embarks on an exciting era marked by the

We hope that you find their stories inspiring. As this

development of its new 10-year strategic plan, the university

annual report helps illustrate, there is strength in numbers. We

continues its commitment to intellectual rigor, creativity and

are part of a powerful partnership — a Southern community

innovation, community engagement, quality technological

of alumni, donors, faculty, staff, friends, and volunteers —

experiences, and a climate of civility, respect, and inclusion.

committed to changing lives through our collective efforts. To

Clearly there is much to celebrate, yet work remains to be

that end, the SCSU Foundation continues to fund numerous

done. Numerous factors contribute to student success. But for

important initiatives, all designed to help Southern’s talented

many, the journey begins at Southern — an institution known

students succeed. The SCSU Foundation Student Support

for excellence, access, and affordability. This annual report

Fund, for example, provides students with assistance outside of

spotlights a few of those journeys and illustrates some of the

the traditional financial aid process — in some instances

countless ways your gifts benefit the university and its

covering tuition and fees for those facing a budgetary crisis.


Similarly, the Book Loan Scholarship offers funds for

• Neil Proto earned his undergraduate degree at

textbooks, annually benefiting approximately 40 students in

Southern with the help of scholarship support. He

need. Your support makes it possible for the foundation to offer

went on to build a highly successful, multifaceted

these and numerous other equally important funds — all of

career and later gave back to his alma mater by

which enable Southern students to remain at the university

creating a scholarship for Southern students

and earn their degrees.

planning to attend law school.

These are exciting times for Southern, and we hope you

• Sarah (Green) Greco, the former valedictorian of

will continue to support us as we provide an exemplary,

West Haven High School in Connecticut, has made the

transformative, and accessible education to its students.

most of her Southern education. Thanks to scholarship

Thank you for your continued trust and generosity.

Very truly yours,

38 | Charitable Giving Report

Robert L. Stamp

David R. McHale

Executive Director SCSU Foundation

Chairman SCSU Foundation

Southern Journeys: Why We Give. Why it Matters.

Year in Review 2014 30 25.7

25 20 15

Total Net Assets 17.4

20.1 17.2

“One day I hope to be fortunate enough to pay


it forward and assist a college student with their education goals. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude . . . ”

10 5

With sincere gratitude, we share words of thanks from recent scholarship recipients.They represent the tens of thousands of Southern students whose lives have been changed for the better through the gift of education.

Dollars Raised












in millions of dollars • as of fiscal year end June 30

“ . . . I am the oldest of four and the first to attend a four-year university. These funds greatly contribute to my ability to pay for textbooks throughout the school year.” “Although I have learning difficulties

, 1000


800 754



Donor Support of University Programs



531 463


“I was honorably discharged from the U.S.

466 Donor Support of Scholarships and Awards

295 209




and a hearing disability, I proudly attend SCSU as a sports management major with the hope of coaching high school basketball. Your donation and continued pledge to financially assist those with disabilities allows people like me to fulfill our dreams.”




in thousands of dollars • as of fiscal year end June 30

78% Support for university programs has increased 78 percent in the past five years, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

103% Thanks to our donors, support for scholarships and awards soared 103 percent from 2010 to 2014.

Army as a sergeant with over seven years of service time, including two combat deployments. . . . Your scholarship will go a long way in helping me afford the high cost of books . . . as well as tuition for the graduate courses that I plan to take in the spring. ”

“I came from a difficult inner-city life to become an aspiring English teacher and lawyer. As a 30-year-old mom of three . . . [I appreciate] that this scholarship will tremendously aid in helping reduce my student loan repayment upon completion of my studies.”

“As I tell the incoming students during orientation, Southern is where I found myself, my voice, and my confidence. I am very thankful for your generosity.” Summer 2015 | 39

Renaissance Man Having excelled as a lawyer, writer, and professor, Neil Thomas Proto, ’67, establishes a scholarship designed to help Southern students succeed. By Jack Kramer

40 | Charitable Giving Report


hen you look at Neil Thomas Proto’s body of work, it is hard to believe that he was, in his own words, “not an exceptional student’’ during his undergraduate years at Southern Connecticut State University. “I had an overall average of about a 2.75, and, if I recall correctly, maybe a 3.5 in my major,’’ says Proto, ’67, who focused his studies in history and political science. “Most of that was the product of my junior and senior years.” Proto has enjoyed great success in numerous fields since graduating from Southern close to 50 years ago, giving heightened meaning to the phrase late bloomer. His public service and private practice in law includes 45 years of experience in land use, environmental, and federal litigation, as well as teaching assignments at Yale and Georgetown universities. Proto is also an accomplished author, having covered topics ranging from Three Mile Island to baseball. His contributions to the law field began early. In 1971 and 1972, while still a law student at George Washington University, he chaired Students Challenging Regulatory Agency Procedures (SCRAP). Their work resulted in the first Supreme Court case to consider the National Environmental Policy Act (1973), and the court ultimately concluded that SCRAP had standing to sue. Since that time, both as an appellate attorney with the United States Department of Justice and in private practice, Proto has orchestrated legal, cultural, and political challenges on behalf of public and private entities. Widely held as a leading environmental litigator, he has fought against the construction of highways on civil rights grounds, shopping malls, coal-fired utility plants, the use of natural resources, and harm to Indian reservations. In 1993, for example, Proto drafted a unique statutory scheme at the behest of the state of Hawaii that resulted in the conveyance of Kaho’olawe Island from the United States to Hawaii for the special use of native Hawaiians. Another legal battle pitted Proto against the Walt Disney Company, which planned to open a park in Virginia near historically important Civil War sites. Working pro bono on behalf of the Natural Trust for Historic Preservation and Protect Historic America (a group of writers and historians including Pulitzer Prize-winning Pictured at left and in authors David McCullough and James a 1967 yearbook photo, Neil Thomas Proto McPherson), Proto achieved what some received Southern’s considered impossible — helping to stop Leadership Award in Disney in its tracks. his senior year.

Proto’s passion extends to the arts. He sat on the board of directors of the Shubert and Long Wharf theaters in New Haven, and served as chair of the city of New Haven’s Committee for the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Execution of Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco. Working with director Tony Giordano, he also co-adapted from the original Dutch the musical drama, “The American Dream, The Story of Sacco and Vanzetti,” which was performed at the Shubert in April 2002. And there is much, much more for Proto, who continues to consider his time at Southern as playing an integral role in his life story — so much so that he’s establishing an endowed scholarship in his name at the university. The Neil Thomas Proto Scholarship Fund provides practical support to undergraduate or graduate students seeking to attend law school. “Practical support” is defined as providing all or a portion of the cost of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), the LSAT preparation course, and law school application fee or fees. “Southern had special virtues,” says Proto. “It welcomed firstgeneration students with decent academic standings, and it was within my financial reach. I had a scholarship from the New Haven Scholarship Fund, which covered my tuition, and with a part-time job and my parents’ help — and my dad’s car, when necessary — we could afford it.” As he recalls, Southern had deep roots in the community, with education majors completing their student teaching in New Haven public schools, and students and faculty members often volunteering with charitable and community groups. Proto was raised with a similar commitment. “I was the product of a working-class family, with parents who were civically active — with a strong sense of values about fairness. They were informed,” he says. “Both supported education for their three children, and were involved in all aspects of our academic lives. . . . My brother Richard, my sister Diana, and I were products of New Haven’s public schools, and the first to go to college in our family. That was the case with most of my classmates at Southern.’’ Proto developed as a leader at Southern. He was student body president in his senior year (1966-67) and received the Leadership Award in 1967. His ties to the university remained strong, with Proto delivering Southern’s commencement address in 1976 and receiving the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1981. He, in turn, recounts that the late President Emeritus Michael J. Adanti was an inspiration. “I walked the halls at Southern Connecticut; I knew as a student and friend —and admired its latter president — Michael Adanti and his special commitment,” says Proto. “Michael’s model ensured that many graduates, myself included, never forgot Southern’s valued place in our lives.’’ He continues: “I applaud Southern’s ongoing mission to educate and inspire. The scholarship is intended to make this imperative plain. The financial constraint is often the one requiring the most imagination, persistence, and risk-taking to confront — but once managed, the intellect and imagination can blossom in ways that could lead to success. . . . I wanted to lessen that constraint.’’

Summer 2015 | 41

The Perfect Investment Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, is gifted, hardworking, and determined. Thanks to scholarship support, she and other deserving students are making the most of their time at Southern. By Natalie Missakian

42 | Charitable Giving Report


a student representative on the State Board of Regents for Higher Education — the governing board of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system — Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, plays a role in shaping the future of public institutions of higher learning — including Southern. It’s a dream appointment for the 2010 valedictorian of West Haven High School, who envisions a future for herself in higher education, perhaps leading a department like Student Affairs on a college campus. But she doubts the opportunity would have been available to her without the aid of scholarship support. Freed from the need to work long hours to cover tuition, Greco says she had more time to participate in activities like the Student Government Association, where she built relationships that led to her Board of Regents post as well as a part-time job in Southern’s Office of Residence Life. “It wouldn’t have happened if I was stressed out every semester worrying about paying my school bill,” says Greco, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in English education at Southern. As an undergraduate in the Honors College majoring in English education, Greco received the prestigious, merit-based Presidential Scholarship, which covers full in-state tuition and fees for the university’s highest-achieving students. Thanks to a variety of other scholarships offered through the SCSU Foundation and other sources, she also was able to cover the cost of books and educational expenses. Among these was a winter study abroad program in Jamaica in Greco’s sophomore year, during which she visited schools in the Montego Bay area to compare the U.S. and Jamaican education systems. “I can’t say that I would not have gone to school at all [if it weren’t for the scholarships]. We would have figured it out. But I wouldn’t have had an opportunity like the one I had at Southern,” she recalls. Currently 71 percent of Southern’s students receive some form of financial aid, according to Gloria Lee, director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. But federal grant money, which unlike a loan does not have to be paid back, is limited, she explains, and there’s never enough to meet every student’s need. “I don’t have enough money to cover everybody. I wish I did,” Lee says. “That’s why when I go out to workshops I encourage students to apply for scholarships.” Although it takes a little more legwork — most scholarships have their own application processes above and beyond that for financial aid — Lee says the effort can pay off substantially by reducing the amount students need to borrow for tuition. Levels of debt have continued to rise nationwide. The Pew Research Center estimates that 69 percent of new college graduates in the Class of 2012 took out student loans to finance their education, borrowing an average of $26,885 — more than twice the $12,434 (adjusted for inflation) borrowed by the Class of 1993.

“Because I was valedictorian in my class they just assumed I was going to go to an Ivy League.” — Sarah (Green) Greco, ’14, on why Southern was her first college choice Greco says her goal was to graduate with as little debt as possible, a priority she appreciates even more now that she is married with a 10-month-old son. “I came from a hardworking family that struggled with being in and out of debt because they were trying to make ends meet,” Greco explains. “I didn’t want to graduate from college with that burden.” Although she decided to attend Southern before she learned of her aid package — the university moved to the top of her list after her first campus visit — the generous amount of scholarship support she received reinforced her decision. Once on campus, Greco continued to shine academically, graduating summa cum laude with a 3.95 grade point average. She was one of only four Southern seniors to earn the 2014 Henry Barnard Foundation Distinguished Student Award, one of the state university system’s top academic honors. An extremely active undergrad, Greco was vice president of the Student Government Association, president of the university’s chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society, vice president of its chapter of Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success, and a member of the honorary service organization Zeta Delta Epsilon. She also worked every summer helping to plan and execute Southern’s New Student Orientation. Now living in New Haven, Greco remains a firm believer in the state’s public universities — and encourages high-achieving high school students to consider Southern and other public institutions of higher learning for their quality and value. “Education is what you make of it. There are people at Southern who will give you the highest-quality education and beyond if you are looking for it,” says Greco. “I don’t think I’d be sitting on the Board of Regents and working at a university right now if I had made a different decision.” For her part, Greco felt she could make more of a difference at Southern than at a bigger school where she might have been “just a cog in a wheel.” But she remembers some people being surprised by her choice. “Because I was valedictorian in my class they just assumed I was going to go to an Ivy League,” she remembers. Initially, that’s what Greco thought too, noting that her father was a Yale University alumnus. Southern was barely on her radar. But when she visited campus, she says she immediately could picture herself as a student: “It’s a feeling I hadn’t gotten anywhere else.”

Summer 2015 | 43

All in the Family A new scholarship furthers the Drobish family’s long-held commitment to Southern and its students. By Natalie Missakian

44 | Charitable Giving Report


he romance began in a crowded gymnasium on registration day in 1958. Marian (Riggio) Drobish, ’62, was a Southern freshman and Robert M. Drobish, ’61, had just transferred from Providence College, when the two met while waiting in line to sign up for classes. “She kept inching her way closer to the front because she knew all these people,” Drobish recalls. That night, he asked her to dance at a student mixer. Four years later, they were married. The couple’s connection to Southern remained strong following graduation, growing in step with their family, which soon included a son Robert K., named after his father. The elder Robert became the assistant director of admissions at Southern. Marian also began a job on campus — as hall director (then called “house mother”) at the newly opened Wilkinson Hall — so the family moved into the all-girls dorm where the younger Robert spent his toddler years. Not surprisingly, the family’s ties to Southern have expanded to include the next generation. Consider the aforementioned toddler who once happily walked the halls of Wilkinson. Today, Robert K. Drobish, ’88, M.S. ’90, works in the Registrar’s Office as a scheduling officer at Southern — which he considers much more than his alma mater and employer. As Drobish see it, Southern is his home. “Not even a second home. It’s home,” says the younger Robert. “I literally grew up on Southern’s campus.” Robert remembers visiting his dad at work — in the office where he himself would work decades later — and tagging along at football games when his father was a statistician and announcer for the college marching band. He also recalls how much he looked up to the Southern students. “As a kid, they seemed so old. So much larger than life,” he says. His siblings’ ties to Southern run wide and deep as well. Diana (Dee Dee) Dahlman, graduated from Southern in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in education and now works in the Office of Residence Life. A younger sister, Andrea Kennedy, spent two years at Southern before leaving to pursue a career in musical theater. Southern is also where the younger Robert met his wife, Director of Student Life Denise Bentley-Drobish, ’90, M.S. ’92 — whose diverse responsibilities include supervising daily operations of the office, clubs and organizations, and the Programs Council, as well as serving as the primary adviser to the Student Government Association. The couple began dating while working as hall directors — Robert at Chase and Denise at Farnham Hall — and married in 1995. All told, the family holds seven Southern degrees. It was Denise who first suggested establishing a scholarship at the university to honor the Drobish family legacy. In recognition of the institution that played a central role in all of their lives, the relatives established the Supporting Southern is a family affair for (from left) Drobish Family Endowed Diana (Dee Dee) Dahlman, ’91; Scholarship at Southern. The Robert M. Drobish, ’61; Marian (Riggio) Drobish, ’62; scholarship was presented as a Robert K. Drobish, ’88, M.S. ‘90; surprise to Marian and Robert and Denise Bentley-Drobish, ’90, M. Drobish, who have M.S. ’92.

subsequently contributed to the fund as well. The scholarship will go to an in-state student who is involved in his or her community and holds a leadership position at Southern. “Southern is a part of us,” says the younger Robert. “We thought it was important to do what we could to give back.” Others in the Drobish family share his sentiment. Marian’s voice brightens when she talks about the early days of her marriage spent living in Wilkinson Hall, and her relationship with “the girls,” who doted on her then 15-month-old son, and often babysat while she counseled students. “My door used to be open until all hours of the night to see students. It was a very warm and family kind of relationship,” she says. Dorm structure was different then, and she was house “mother” in every sense — right down to enforcement of the strict curfews and room inspections. She left the job with the birth of her second child, but the elder Robert stayed on as registrar until 1976, when he accepted a similar position at what is now Western Connecticut State University. He retired in 1992. Marian would build a career teaching special education at the Foundation School in Milford, Conn. An accomplished singer and performer, she also ran a school for theater arts. “I’ve had a few careers in my life, and I really owe it to Southern,” she says. “It was a wonderful foundation for everything I did afterwards, and I am forever grateful.” The younger Robert says he and Denise decided to make community involvement and campus leadership a requirement for the scholarship to honor the example set by his parents, who were active in campus life. As undergrads, his father served as senior class president while his mother was instrumental in bringing the American Association of University Women, an advocacy group, to campus. She was also among the university’s first female leaders in student government, serving as president her senior year. Looking back, Marian and the elder Robert say they always encouraged their children to follow their own paths, but are thrilled they chose to study and work at Southern. “They always enjoyed our stories about Southern and, of course, Bob spent some of his formative years there. But they really discovered Southern on their own,” says Marian. “There’s no question that they are happy with their decision.” A career at Southern wasn’t initially the plan for the younger Robert, who majored in communications and hoped for a career in television. But after an internship at WTNH-Channel 8, he realized the late hours would be difficult when he had a family. In contrast, the idea of working as a university administrator in support of students seemed a natural fit. He says he is proud to have landed in the office where his father made a name for himself decades ago, even if it sometimes causes confusion. “To this day, I’ll get people calling and saying, ‘Bob? I can’t believe you’re still there!’” he says with a laugh. “I say, ‘Oh no, that’s my dad. He’s retired.’”

Summer 2015 | 45

Dollars & Sense


More than



of Southern seniors work 21 or more hours a week.

of Southern students receive financial aid.

$600in,000 scholarsahripdss and aw

More than

$2.74 milli

h the were made througin 2014. SCSU Foundation



scholarships and awards we


re made through the SCSU Foundation between 2008 and 20 14.

the median level of loan debt for recent Southern graduates

The Importance of College On average, the benefits of a

four-year college degree Over their entire career, the typical college graduate with a bachelor’s degree earns

an investment that returns


15.2% a year.

Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, the Brookings Institution-based Hamilton Project

$1.9 million– twice what a typical high school graduate earns. The Brookings Institutionbased Hamilton Project

46 | Charitable Giving Report


of jobs in Connecticut will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020.


46% of adults currently have an associate degree or higher.



of Southern’s annual graduating class remains in Connecticut to live and work.

Student Debt: Who Borrows?

In 2012, a record

69% of the nation’s new college graduates had taken out student loans to finance their education.


of those from low-income families graduated with student loan debt in 2012 — almost four out of every five.

$26,885 $12,434

Student borrowers are graduating with much higher levels of debt than in previous decades: the median level of debt was $26,885 for graduates in the Class of 2011-12 compared to $12,434 for the Class of 1992-93. (Figures adjusted for inflation.)

Class of 1993 Class of 2012

From “The Changing Profile of Student Borrowers,” a report from the Pew Research Center

Summer 2015 | 47

Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors OFFICERS David R. McHale • Chairman Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Eversource Energy Richard F. Tripodi • Vice Chairman President RFTS, Inc. Michael R. Chambrello • Treasurer Chief Executive Officer GTECH Mary O’Connell Kozik • Secretary Senior Chemist AECOM Corporation Robert L. Stamp • Executive Director Vice President for Institutional Advancement Southern Connecticut State University

BOARD MEMBERS Paula Armbruster Associate Clinical Professor (Retired) Yale University Dr. Robert S. Frew Professor Emeritus of Computer Science Southern Connecticut State University

Anthony F. Verlezza Associate Partner Equus Group LLC

Diane L. Wishnafski Executive Vice President (retired) NewAlliance Bank

Pieter W. van Vredenburch Head of Linear USD Rates HSBC Bank USA



Dr. Charles E. Baraw Assistant Professor of English Southern Connecticut State University

Frederick R. Afragola Chairman Frame Advisors

Alicia DiVito Student Representative Southern Connecticut State University

Lucille W. Alderman Community Activist

Dr. Mary A. Papazian President Southern Connecticut State University

Frank D. Antin Senior Vice President (retired) The Bank of New York Mellon Mackey Barron President HB Communications Inc. Lynn Fusco President Fusco Corporation Robin Sauerteig Higher Education Activist

Thomas J. Madigan Vice President, Investments UBS Financial Services, Inc. John Mezzanotte Partner-in-Charge Marcum LLP Marc A. Nivet, Ed.D. Chief Diversity Officer Association of American Medical Colleges William H. Pratt, Esq. Intellectual Property Licensing Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP John Soto President Space-Craft Manufacturing, Inc.

48 | Charitable Giving Report

Robert D. Parker Alumni Association Representative Director of Communications (retired) ACES (Area Cooperative Educational Services) Mark Rozewski Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Southern Connecticut State University Teresa Sirico Alumni Association Representative Teresa Sirico Realtor LLC

CONTACT US For additional information, please contact: Southern Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. Telephone: (203) 392-6900 Gifts may be made online at: (203) 392-6900

Profile for Southern Connecticut State University

Foundation Report 2014  

Southern Connecticut State University - Charitable Giving Report

Foundation Report 2014  

Southern Connecticut State University - Charitable Giving Report

Profile for scsu

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