Foundation Makes Record Donation

The New Paltz Foundation has received its largest donation to date from a late faculty member that will benefit graduate students of the School of Education.

“This bequest is the largest gift the college has received to date from a current or former member of the faculty,” said Laurel Garrick Duhaney, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School.

Nearly $200,000 was given to the School of Education from retired professor, Dr. Olga Santora, who passed away in May 2010.

“This is a large and extremely generous bequest that will enhance the Graduate School’s efforts to recruit and prepare outstanding graduate students,” said Garrick Duhaney. “It’s a gift that will profoundly impact the lives of graduate students, the work of the college, and the wider Hudson Valley community where scholarship recipients will serve as educational leaders and facilitators of learning.”

According to Sally Cross, Foundation executive director, when accepting a gift like this, “we learn from the estate’s executor [and] determine whether or not we are capable of accepting such a gift. If there are challenges, we will work with the executors to find the best way to carry out the donor’s wishes.”

According to Garrick Duhaney, the money given will fund scholarships for School of Education graduate students who meet specific eligibility criteria.

“Dr. Santora was also vital in the start of the Masters program for the School of Education,” said former Dean of the School of Education Robert Michael. “She will be remembered for being an outstanding faculty member in the School of Education,” said  Michael.

According to Cross, Dr. Santora dedicated her life to education. She also left a similar gift to SUNY Oneonta, where she received her first degree.

Meanwhile, Garrick Duhaney will long be remembered for her  commitment to education and philanthropy. Santora taught at the School of Education for 23 years before her retirement in 1985. She was also the Graduate School of Education’s first director.

According to Cross, “the Foundation has received a number of wonderful bequest gifts, including $1 million from an alumna a few years ago.”

Alumna Ruth De Roberts gave this donation in 2005. It gave scholarships to high-achieving graduates of Yonkers and Rye public high schools.