By Erica Broman, Ed.D.
It has been a remarkable year, one that finally has a light at the end of an exceptionally long tunnel. Despite much adversity, we have an extensive list of reasons to be especially proud at Westfield State University. As someone who has worked for many years to enhance the resources and opportunities of current and college-bound students, I couldn’t be more pleased with our fundraising over this year.
We have established new milestones for alumni and community giving. This is best exemplified (which you can read about in this issue) in the transformational planned gift of Paul W. Dower totaling over $3 million. His commitment to Westfield State students brought us our Last Mile Fund, which helps seniors to graduate. He was a man motivated to support those who were willing to help themselves. Understanding the obstacles students must overcome, he also established the Paul W. Dower Live Strong Excellence Award. The annual $10,000 renewable awards are a first for Westfield State and will enable the University to attract and retain high achieving and richly deserving students who would benefit from the Westfield experience.
Beyond Mr. Dower’s support, we are incredibly grateful to our volunteer boards, all of whom reached 100 percent participation in our annual Give a Hoot Day of Giving. The initiative raised more this year than ever before. As we tackle the financial issues faced by much of higher education, an increase in faculty and
staff giving, and a spirit of cooperation permeate the campus. We are working hard, working smarter, and making the complex decisions necessary to align ourselves with this new landscape.
It is important that we also celebrate the many alumni and students who make Westfield State a wonderful institution. In this issue we highlight a few, including conversations with Greg Christie ’80 and his critical medical work in California; Steve Roche ’77 and his political skills at play throughout the country; Azanda Seymour ’92 and her new role in teaching Westfield State students the skills they need to succeed; and student extraordinaire Gabby Trudeau ’21 among many more.
We look forward to a more normal fall here with a new president, Dr. Linda Thompson, and are making plans for a warm and welcoming Homecoming on October 16. We hope you will make plans to come back to the “nest” to connect with old friends and make new ones.