RIT Alumni Association
RIT Alumni Association

Faculty & Staff

Government & Community Relations – Together as One!

Amazing things can be accomplished when a group of people pull together to make something happen. The Government and Community Relations Endowed Scholarship is a great example.

In 2006, as a commitment to the Powered by the Future campaign, division vice president, Debbie Stendardi provided a base pledge to establish a scholarship to support students in any degree program, with preference to those who fill student positions in the division. Stendardi had established a scholarship in memory of her father, a Newsday photographer for many years who always had great things to say about RIT photography alumni he'd met as professional photographers. "He went to college on the GI bill and education was always of paramount importance to him," so making gifts to scholarships helped her memorialize him.

Following Stendardi's lead, members of the division designated their campaign commitments to that scholarship. Within four years, the scholarship was fully endowed and ready to start supporting students. This team effort not only meant a permanent source of financial aid for students, but it also allowed staff people who otherwise might not have been able to establish an endowed scholarship fund on their own to know the impact of that type of gift.

The scholarship parameters mean that students who work in Special Events, University News, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Government and Community Relations are given preference for the award. One of the first students to receive the scholarship was a student employee in the Office of Government & Community Relations, Brittany Shuman. "I remember how thrilled she was to receive the scholarship," says Stendardi. "It was great to have the pleasure of knowing her and how important it was to her to have this assistance. It makes it that much more meaningful to all of us and to want to continue to support this kind of investment in our wonderful students."