Posted on Saturday, October 24, 2009
Hobart and William Smith Colleges have received a pledge of $7.5 million from HWS Trustee Stuart Piltch '82, P'11 and his wife Sari Feldman P'11 in memory of Stuart's parents, Maurice "Roy" and Charlotte "Mildred" Piltch. The gift will establish an endowment to support scholarships for students who otherwise would not be able to attend HWS. Recipients will be selected on the basis of demonstrated achievement, potential for growth, commitment to community engagement, and dedication to issues of equity and social justice. This marks the largest gift to an endowed scholarship fund in the history of the Colleges.
"In making this gift, Stuart and Sari will change the lives of young men and women for generations to come," says President Mark D. Gearan. "Their belief in education as a force for transformation and their commitment to Hobart and William Smith Colleges are truly inspiring."
In creating this scholarship, Stuart and Sari honor the memory of Stuart's parents, Roy and Mildred, whose perseverance through difficult times and unerring moral compass guided the Piltch children in creating lives of meaning and consequence.
"My parents had three basic rules," recalls Stuart, the managing director and co-founder of Cambridge Advisory Group, an actuarial and benefits consulting firm based in Philadelphia. "Work hard, do the right thing by people, and leave things better than you found them."
The parents of nine children, Roy owned a small print shop in Boston. At the age of 52, Mildred went to work outside the home. Although they had few resources, they had high expectations.
"Our parents dreamed of better prospects for all of us," Stuart says. "That meant, first and foremost, an education."
Despite the odds, all nine Piltch children graduated from college with four attending Hobart and William Smith. "Coming to Geneva and Seneca Lake to visit their kids was like a vacation for our parents," Stuart recalls. "They loved this place and they loved the opportunities it provided us. Without the support of financial aid and scholarships, it would have been impossible for any of us to attend. This gift is about inspiring and spreading hope in a new generation of students."
The recipients of The Maurice R. and Charlotte M. Piltch Endowed Scholarship Fund should embody the same characteristics as Stuart's parents; they should have a deep work ethic, a critical sense of right and wrong, and a passionate commitment to family and community. Recipients should be individuals of high moral character who are strongly dedicated to a cause or idea. They should value diversity and seek to expand their views of the world through the cultivation of multiple experiences. They should search for ways to create connections among different peoples and ideas and in doing so should support fundamental concepts of social justice.
"Ultimately," says Stuart, "recipients of this scholarship should give back to their communities and their alma mater in the greatest capacity they are able."
This is one of many gifts Piltch and Feldman have made to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Last year, Geneva Scholarship Associates, a fund that supports academically and financially deserving students from Geneva or DeSales high schools to attend HWS, exceeded $1 million thanks to a record contribution from the Piltch family in honor of Bob Freeman, former Director of Financial Aid at the Colleges, and June W. Kuryla P'75, P'78, P'84, GP '04, GP '07, former Administrative Assistant in the Colleges' Department of Financial Aid. In addition, Stuart Piltch established The Dean Clarence E. Butler Endowed Scholarship Fund.