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SUNY Canton Kennedy endowment raises $100,000

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CANTON — With only two months until SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy steps down, the university is taking steps to cement his legacy.

In that spirit it has announced the Joseph L. and Normadine “Dine” Kennedy Endowed Scholarship and raised around $100,000 for the fund.

“Dr. Kennedy has made a difference in students’ lives and in the overall life of SUNY Canton and the northern New York community,” said College Council Chairman Ronald M. O’Neill in a press release. “It is a fitting tribute that the Kennedy family is honored through a scholarship that will continue their legacy beyond their time.”

The scholarship will go to “high-achieving” students attending the university, said Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach Tuesday.

Student Government Association President Daynelle Richards announced the endowment at the university’s commencement May 19, along with a $20,000 gift from the SGA.

Since then, the College Association has donated $30,000 and faculty, staff and alumni another $46,000.

“It is an endowment, so it will sit forever at the college.The interest earned will go out at about 5 percent each year for eternity for students,” said Mr. Gerlach.

Mr. Gerlach hopes that the nearly $100,000 raised for the endowment is just the beginning.

“My goal was to reach $100,000 — my new goal is to reach $120,000,” he said. “I would love to see businesses step up because this is ultimately a tribute to the Kennedys and a way to support students.”

Since his 1993 arrival, Mr. Kennedy transformed the campus, then primarily a two-year technical school, into a four-year college offering 23 different bachelor’s degrees.

During that time the university also doubled its enrollment.

Mrs. Kennedy has touched almost every segment of the north country through her volunteerism, working with local hospitals, media outlets, universities, libraries and hospice.

“It fills in what the Kennedys did at the college,” said Mr. Gerlach. “They forever impacted the facilities and the campus. It is very apropos that their scholarship goes to high-achieving students because they were high-achieving administrators.”

Mr. Gerlach said that spirit of community service could find its way into the scholarship’s guidelines.

While the endowment definitely will fund scholarships in the 2013-14 school year, Mr. Gerlach said awards might be made in 2012-13.

“I will definitely start in 2013 if it doesn’t start in 2012,” he said. “I could peel off some of the proceeds and then get that out this year.”

To make a donation to the Joseph and Dine Kennedy Scholarship endowment, contact the SUNY Canton College Foundation, 386-7527 or 1 (800) 811-6727, or by email at foundation@canton.edu.

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