Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
Seated from left are CAT majors Fauna Ryerson '09, Rosa Santana '10, and Cesar Caceres '09 displaying Scott Kaplan's portfolio. Standing from left are Professor Nancy Bacci, Ellen Kaplan, Marc Kaplan, and Professor Lisa Rabinowicz.
Kaplans meet recipients of scholarship given in memory of Scott Kaplan '02
An intimate dinner for Marc and Ellen Kaplan and the recipients of the Scott H. Kaplan '02 Endowed Scholarship Fund was held in the conference room in the Office of Institutional Advancement recently. Scott Kaplan, a talented artist and Creative Arts and Technology graduate, passed away in 2003 from complications arising from muscular dystrophy. His parents established a scholarship in his name to be given to CAT majors on an annual basis.
Fauna Ryerson '09, Rosa Santana '10, and Cesar Caceres '09, are the recipients of the Kaplan Scholarship this year. They dined with Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan and related tales of their time at Bloomfield College; what they have learned, their experiences in the program, and expressed their gratitude for the scholarship. Also dinning with the Kaplans were Scott's former professors, Nancy Bacci and Lisa Rabinowitz, both of whom spoke of Scott's talents, determination, and wonderful personality that allowed him to make friends easily. They noted that Scott was always helping his classmates with their work, gently critiquing and offering suggestions based on his body of knowledge. "Any class that Scott was in was better for his presence," says Rabinowitz. "He was one of those special students that all teachers hope to have in their classes."
Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan said that Scott's experiences at Bloomfield College were the happiest of his life. Because he was wheelchair bound, he championed efforts at the College and at his synagogue to make the buildings accessible to the disabled. "But he did it in such as way that people were very willing to make the appropriate accommodations," says Mr. Kaplan. Scott, using his good humor and gentle personality, championed the cause to make accessible buildings the norm, rather than the exception, which has been beneficial to those who require modifications for access.
While Scott was disabled, in his own mind, he was just like everyone else. "One of the things Scott liked about Bloomfield College was that nobody treated him differently because he was in a wheelchair," says his mother. "Even when he could not take a course because it was in the basement of Westminster, which at that time was inaccessible, he bargained with the administration to have a lift installed so he could take the class and finish his graduation requirements. He never asked to be excused from the class because of his handicap," Mr. Kaplan interjected.
Bloomfield College and the students in the Creative Arts and Technology department are grateful to the Kaplan family for turning their personal tragedy into opportunities for future generations.
Parent of Nicholas Paleologos '13,
Broadcast Communication major
Be appreciative and give what you can
"Bloomfield College is not overwhelming like larger universities," says Rosemary Paleologos, parent of Nicholas who is a broadcast journalism major. "The faculty, staff, and administration really care about the students and give them many opportunities to pursue their dreams."
Rosemary is a parent of a successful student and a regular donor to the Bloomfield College Fund. She was raised with the value of giving back, and to her, Bloomfield College has given so much to her son that making gifts to the fund is a natural choice. "Nick has always wanted to be a sports broadcaster. At Bloomfield College, his passion was recognized by Dr. Jeanne Nutter, who is also Nick's advisor and he has been given two radio shows to broadcast," she explains. "He is getting the hands-on experience that will help him in his career. Dr. Nutter truly is passionate about her students; we have seen this throughout the time Nick has been at Bloomfield College."
When the family was investigating colleges with Nick, they looked at a number of schools in New Jersey including Montclair State, William Paterson, Kean, and Bergen Community. At Bloomfield College they were struck with the intimacy of the campus. "During the visit we were greeted by professors, the head of admission, and staff members," she recalls. "Everybody was very friendly and interested in Nick. I knew that he would never be just a number."
She was also impressed with the curricula. "They answered all our questions fully," she says. "When we came back for parents' weekend, faculty would approach me and tell me what a good student Nick is. That gave me a great sense of comfort to know that they were looking out for him."
The interesting twist to this story is that Rosemary has been battling multiple sclerosis for many years. She had to stop working about two years ago as the disease progressed and made her daily routine difficult to manage. But that has not diminished her positive attitude or her passion for philanthropy. She still volunteers in the elementary school that she and both her sons attended as a fundraiser and is the team captain for the annual Multiple Sclerosis Walk. "It is what it is, so I need to deal with it. It is my challenge in life." Rosemary offers. Her philosophy about philanthropy is very basic. "If a group or an organization gives its resources to people who need them, then we should be willing to support that group - we have to give in order to get back," she explains. In terms of Bloomfield College, Rosemary is so positive about the education and opportunities her son is getting that giving back is the only rational thing to do. "Nick is getting an excellent education and the faculty care about him. If I can do something so that another student can be given the same opportunity, then I will do what I can," she asserts.
Parents are often pulled in several directions when they have a child or two in college. The cost of an education is not inexpensive and many families need financial assistance to give their student the advantages of a higher education. "Give what you are able to give," says Rosemary. "As a parent I am humbled by the expertise of the faculty, the extent of the curricula, and the variety of activities that students are offered. If we all give what we can, we can help many students with the same chances as our children have. It is our obligation as parents to give our children a quality education; it affords us great comfort in the knowledge that we have provided them the best opportunity for their future."
"I am glad we selected Bloomfield," she concludes. "I don't think Nick would have had these opportunities and attention at a larger school."