Supporting the Next Generations


Lisa McMahon, assistant director of Advancement and University Relations, says the need for scholarship funds for students has never been greater—and the difference those dollars make has never been more powerful.

This is one of many reasons that donors step up in support.

McMahon explains that the Westfield State Foundation, Inc., holds an overall portfolio of scholarships that are held, invested and dispersed. Within that portfolio are funds raised and distributed by particular campus groups.

Organizations such as the Musical Theatre Guild (MTG), for instance, and the Westfield State Alumni Association (WSAA)—and others as well—each have their own scholarship committee that reviews the applicants and votes on the student recipient based on the specific criteria around their particular scholarship, McMahon says.

On the 35th anniversary of MTG, in 2011, a group of MTG alums decided they wanted to solidify their legacy by creating a memorial scholarship through the foundation. They contacted Kathi Bradford, director of Alumni Relations, and, together, set up the memorial scholarship.

Peg Drisko ’88, who represents MTG, says, “We are a group that gave much to the University while we were here and received even more. We received the support of talented faculty and staff and an educational experience that was second to none and launched us into the world.”

  Drisko says her fellow alums want to ensure that other students have a similar experience. “The friendships that we built while creating exceptional college community theater have lasted a lifetime,” she says. “The scholarship is a way for us to give those coming up behind us a boost and the message that we are with them in their pursuit of a well-rounded education, which includes student-run theater.”

Nancy Daly ’90, president of the Alumni Association’s Executive Council, says WSAA gives scholarships that range from $500 to $2,000 each year. The number given depends on the funds available for that year, she says.

Recipients of the WSAA funds must be current Westfield State students with a familial relationship to an alum, Daly says, and the student must also show strong community service both on and off campus and have a minimum grade point average of 2.8.

Daly, who attended the reception, says she was inspired to hear students’ stories of how receiving the scholarship funds helped them achieve their goals.

Steve Dailey ’95, a former member of the Alumni Association’s Executive Council, says he enjoys giving back “to a campus that gave me more than I ever imagined.”

“My happy college memories and experiences have helped form who I am today, and I want to work hard to keep Westfield State as the best Massachusetts state university there is,” Dailey adds. “As they say, the more you give, the more you get back in return.”

You, too, have an opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life. Maybe you played sports, wrote for the paper or worked at the radio station. Perhaps you’d like to support a current athlete, journalist or DJ. Maybe you just enjoyed your time at Westfield State and want to give back in a general sense.

To learn how to help a current student by donating to an existing scholarship or setting up a new scholarship, please contact Lisa McMahon at the Westfield State Foundation, Inc., office at 413-485-7360 or via email at 


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