June 4, 2014

Matching Support by Empire State College Foundation Provides $40,000 in Awards

More than 40 Students Receive Stewart’s Shops Scholarships for 2013-14

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – June 5, 2014)

Christopher DelVecchio, of Schenectady N.Y., a 2013-14 Stewart's Shops Community College Scholarship recipient

Christopher DelVecchio, of Schenectady N.Y., a 2013-14 Stewart's Shops Scholarship recipient. Photo/Heather Meany, Schenectday County Community College

Stewart’s Shops and the Empire State College Foundation are providing more than 40 SUNY Empire State College students with $40,000 in scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year.

A multi-year commitment, the Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship program is matched by the college foundation and was created to support students who have graduated from one of the 14 SUNY community colleges located in the Stewart’s Shops’ service area.

“Empire State College opens new paths to higher education for busy students, regardless of their age or life circumstances, by removing obstacles of time and place-based learning,” said Susan Dake, president of Stewart’s Foundation. “We are happy to play a small part in support Empire State College’s mission of expanding access to higher education.”

“Stewart’s Shops’ generous and ongoing commitment to this scholarship program is one of many examples of the company’s commitment to the communities they serve and we are very grateful for this support,” said Hugh B. Hammett, vice president of the college’s Office of External Affairs. “Thanks to the high-quality education they have received at a SUNY community college, recipients of the Stewart’s Shops scholarship are very likely to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree at Empire State College.”

Students are awarded a $1,000 scholarship for one academic year with half the total amount awarded each semester.

“As the mother of four teenage children, I can say that every penny counts,” said Sharon Berg of Wevertown, N.Y. Berg, a SUNY Adirondack graduate, studies global climate change at Empire State College and plans on graduating in the spring of 2015. “My goal is to use my education to serve the local and global communities in addressing climate change. I am very grateful to Stewart’s Shops and Empire State College for helping me to achieve my goals.”

“I am honored and overjoyed to be a recipient of the Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship and Empire State College Foundation program,” said Lynda DeLong, a graduate of Hudson Valley Community College. A resident of Schenectady, N.Y. and a single mother of a five-year-old boy, DeLong hopes to advance her career at her current place of employment. She studies business, management and economics and plans on pursing an MBA with Empire State College. “I’ve had many opportunities in the past to take on a management position, but I didn’t feel I had either the knowledge or skills to succeed. By pursuing a bachelor’s with Empire State College, I am learning to manage people, make and carry out decisions and assess markets. Learning with Empire State College also is helping me improve my ability to think logically and creatively.”

“This scholarship will help me pay for needed books and supplies and get me through the upcoming academic year,” said Karen Fiducia, a resident of Round Top, N.Y. and graduate of Columbia-Greene Community College. A mother of five and grandmother of three, Fiducia is pursuing a B.A. in child and family studies. “The knowledge I will gain from learning at Empire State College will enable me to help children and families in need. I believe education is part of a lifelong learning experience and I hope to inspire those around me to feel the same way.”

“I never thought I would embark on a journey of pursing a college education and completing a degree,” said Christopher DelVecchio, of Schenectady N.Y. DelVecchio returned to college after working several years with a Fortune 100 company. He earned an associate from Schenectady County Community College and plans on pursing a doctorate in education administration after he completes his bachelor’s with Empire State College. “Everything I was taught at SCCC, combined with relationships I built there, motivated me to continue my education. The faculty mentors, staff and members of the college as a whole create an environment where learning flourishes and I am proud to call Empire State College home.”

About the Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship Program

Eligible students are invited to apply online at www.esc.edu/stewartsshops. The application deadline for next year is 5 p.m., Monday, June 16, 2014.

In 2012, Stewart’s Shops renewed a three-year scholarship commitment and increased its gift to $60,000, $20,000 each year for three years, and the college foundation matches this gift.

When the current pledge is completed in 2015, this program will have provided almost a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship funding.

The scholarship program was first established in 2007 with an annual gift of $14,000 per year, which continued through 2011. The college foundation also provided matching funds.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students average age 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY System from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918


518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)