BUF Impact Report 2019-20

“Your support has given me a profound confidence and allowed me to excel in more ways than I ever imagined.”

Comfort Nyesuah '19

When you support BU, you are making a difference in the education of deserving Huskies. Like Comfort, who was able to take the next step toward achieving her dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner thanks to the scholarship she received. See inside to learn more about how your support impacts the BU community.

“I found a new home and a new career path, all because Bloomsburg and my donors believed in me.”

Sam Saxton '19, '20M

Your support creates opportunities for students to succeed. Like Sam, a graduate student who was able to finish his last year of athletic eligibility at BU when he transferred from his previous school after being sidelined by a medical condition. Thanks to donor support, he now has an MBA along with an undergraduate degree in digital forensics.

“It’s incredible to see there are people out there who are thinking of students and helping make sure we’re able to finish this semester.”

Heather Maldonado '20

Donors stepped up to help our Huskies during these extraordinary times. Like Heather, an art major who was having trouble after switching to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic when she realized her computer couldn’t handle the software she needed for her courses. Thanks to donor support, she received a laptop and successfully completed her BU journey.

With a global pandemic and a switch to online courses disrupting the spring semester, 2020 was a challenging year for our students. But Huskies don’t back down from a challenge. And thanks to you—our donors—they had some help. From March through early June of 2020, 147 BU students requested help through the Strengthen the Pack Student Emergency Aid Fund. Alumni and friends came together to help BU students get through these extraordinary times resulting in 241 donors raising more than $138,000. The support helped students who were facing challenges from technology needs to food insecurities. Some students faced the dilemma of not having a place to live. With your generosity, you showed our students that Huskies have each others’ backs by supporting them when they needed it most. Thank you.

Frank Doone '23

Frank Doone ’23 left home in Shamokin, Pa. when he was 17 and enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard to put himself in a more positive situation.

“The check I receive from the Army, the refunds I get at the end of each semester, along with my job at a restaurant, are usually enough to carry me through to the next semester and cover rent, food, and utilities in my apartment,” says Doone. “But with the pandemic, I was laid off from my job and some of the drills that I would have been paid for by the National Guard weren’t available. Plus, with all courses switching to online, I had to upgrade my internet subscription. The support I was granted through the Strengthen the Pack fund saved me, and I just hope I can pay it back through good grades, graduating on time, and community service.”

Cassandra Thomas '23

“After spring break, when everything was shifting to online courses and we had to leave campus, I didn’t know where I was going to go. I couldn’t really go home because I was having a lot of medical issues and all my doctors were here in Bloomsburg,” says Cassandra Thomas ’23, of Pittston, Pa.

“I reached out to Amy Cunningham in the Office of Residence Life who told me about the Strengthen the Pack fund. I was so relieved when I was granted the award. Thanks to these generous donors, I had a place to stay for the summer and they also helped me with the money I needed for food.”

Guillermo Martin De Oliva Carranza ’21

Guillermo Martin de Oliva Carranza ’21 is one of 26 students who remained on Bloomsburg’s campus during the initial COVID-19 quarantine period. For him, and his brother, Chema, that was more than 3,000 miles from his home in Sevilla, Spain.

“I was supposed to come back here the Saturday before classes started again,” Guillermo says. “But then we learned spring break was extended because of the pandemic, so I was going to stay with my brother in Chicago a little longer and then come back.”

Within a few days, Chicago became a focal point for the outbreak of the virus in America, so Guillermo and Chema thought it would be best to come back to Bloomsburg before things got worse.

The brothers made the best of it at Guillermo’s off-campus apartment in Bloomsburg and received support from BU donors and the campus community who made sure they had all they needed.

“My goal is to help elevate BU’s athletic program by giving our coaches the resources they need. I am honored to be able to make this gift and support their efforts to recruit student-athletes and compete on a national level.”

Steph Pettit '89

In November 2019, Steph Pettit ‘89 made a transformational gift to bolster BU athletics for today’s student-athletes and generations of Huskies to follow. Steph’s latest gift, which totals $10 million in direct support for Husky Athletics and brings his overall contributions to more than $12.5 million, makes him the largest donor in Bloomsburg University’s history. But for Pettit, his commitment is about so much more than the amount of his gift. It’s about supporting his passion and also channeling that support in a way that will best align with BU and Husky athletics’ strategic goals. In recognition of the impact of his gift on Husky Athletics and the entire BU community, the University will rename and brand it’s upper-campus athletic complex to the Bloomsburg University Pettit Athletic Complex. “Steph’s passion for BU is unmistakable,” said BU Director of Athletics Michael McFarland. “He is truly an ambassador for all our teams with a desire to see each of them be successful. This gift, we hope, will also inspire others to contribute and help BU become the premier athletic program we all know it can be.”

You embody the spirit of resiliency and togetherness that makes us all Huskies with every gift — no matter the size — by showing our students they have a network of alumni and friends who have their backs.

Each year, the largest donor to BU student scholarships is the Bloom On Fund (formerly the Henry Carver Fund), which provides an average of $2 million per year to deserving BU students.

When you make your gift to support this fund, every dollar helps a Husky get the education they set out for.

This is the support that provides us with the flexibility to make a Bloomsburg education accessible to students who are the first in their families to go to college, which is more than 36% of BU’s student population.

Your annual gifts help us respond to student needs and alleviate some of the financial burden on the 48% of our students who come from households classified as low or very-low-income.

Transformational gifts like Steph Pettit’s are vital to the advancement of Bloomsburg University. But the true key to creating opportunities for our students is the consistent annual support of all our alumni and friends who give what they can to make a difference.

It is your support that creates opportunities for our students, and we can’t stress how important you are to their continued success.

Rhonda Anderson

Rhonda Anderson is a Philadelphia native and the mother of Justin Anderson ’23, a sophomore at BU and member of the men’s basketball team.

When Rhonda learned about the Strengthen The Pack Fund to support students facing financial hardships due to COVID-19 through the 2023 Parents Facebook page, she quickly made her gift to support BU students when they needed it most.

Kenneth Lastowka '05

For Kenneth Lastowka, who has been a consistent supporter since 2009, giving back is just another way to stay connected to BU.

“I try to stay engaged with the university and with my fellow alumni and current students however I can,” says Kenneth, who joined the BU Alumni Board of Directors in 2015. “For me, I can’t afford to give much, but volunteering and mentoring students is so rewarding. Being able to give, at least a little, really helps me feel like I’m doing everything I can to help them succeed.”

Anita Wasileski '76

“I just had such a great experience there, and I guess I wanted to provide that same experience for others,” says Anita, who hasn’t missed a year of supporting students since 1990.

“As an adjunct professor and member of the staff in the speech pathology and audiology department for many years, I know that donor support helps students every day, and while I’m not in a position to give a large amount, every bit makes the difference for a student in need, so I’m happy to do my part.”

A Path to Success

Kyle Cosoleto-Miller (pictured) is a 2017 BU graduate and current Juris Doctorate candidate at University of Pittsburgh Law, which recently entered into an Accelerated Law Admissions Program with BU as a direct result of Craig Diehl's generous gift.

When Craig A. Diehl, Esq. ’82, recognized BU students interested in pursuing a law degree needed some help to get started, he saw his chance to create opportunities.

Craig, a loyal donor since he graduated, took his commitment a step further in 2013 when he joined the BU Foundation Board of Directors and decided to direct his support to areas about which he was passionate, and would also align with strategic needs at BU.

That decision led to his most recent gift of $1.5 million to create the Craig A. Diehl Center for Law School Preparation. The gift fulfilled a need he recognized for a single repository of information about the law school application process.

“I am honored to be able to establish this center where BU students can go for assistance in pursuing their law degree,” Craig says. “My goal was to give back to Bloomsburg in a manner that provides a legacy gift from my family and also helps the University, and I’m blessed to have the ability to make this gift. I’m very proud of it and want to see it develop and help BU recruit and retain talented students.”

A Gift of Experience

For Mike Boguski ’85, creating opportunities for Bloomsburg students that will lead to success beyond graduation has become his passion. He is especially dedicated to supporting experiential learning opportunities for our students.

That dedication became even more clear when Mike and his wife Beth made their most recent gift last year of $500K to support students applying for Professional Experience Grants (PEGs), STEM initiatives, and students competing in the Husky Dog Pound. The Boguski’s generous gift comes in addition to a $1MM commitment they made in 2014 to establish the Boguski Professional U Capstone Experience Scholarship, which supports internships, travel abroad and student/faculty research collaborations.

A first-generation college student himself, Mike is a big believer in the Bloomsburg experience and attributes much of his success to the education he received here. Mike also has several family members who have benefited from a BU education, including his own son, Michael, who graduated in 2018 from the Zeigler College of Business (ZCOB) with a degree in Business Management.

A Legacy of Caring

In November 2019, the BU Foundation received a very generous gift from the estate of Albert K. Phillips designated to provide scholarship support for students seeking a BU Nursing degree.

The unexpected $414K gift resulted in the creation of the Virginia B. Yorks and Karen Faith Phillips Memorial Scholarship for students pursuing a career in nursing.

BU’s nursing program is ranked by College Choice as the most affordable in the state of Pennsylvania, placing it ahead of six sibling institutions in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

Recognized as a leading accredited undergraduate and graduate level nursing program, a BU nursing degree is highly coveted among students from Pennsylvania and throughout the tri-state area.

This gift will help us provide more accessibility to those students and prepare them for a wide range of careers in the nursing field to strengthen their communities through the care they provide.

Stronger Together

Two of the hallmarks of a Husky pack are to work together as a team and to lift others up. They are also staples of the philosophy by which Kent Smeltz '85 lives his life every day.

That’s one of the main reasons Kent established the Break The Chain Scholarship for Student-Athletes.

When he originally made the gift in 2015, Kent had only one requirement for his scholarship — each semester it is to be awarded to one male student-athlete and one female student-athlete, both of whom are from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

As the longtime president of a biotechnology manufacturing company and head football coach for the Upper Dauphin School District since 2017, Kent understands the importance of diversity when it comes to team building, both on the field and in the workplace.

He also knows that many minority student-athletes face obstacles that can’t always be overcome by hard work alone on their way to becoming Huskies. That’s why he made a gift of $200K to renew his scholarship in 2020.

BU donors are creating opportunities for students — and their own legacies — through planned giving.

Many Bloomsburg donors are making the most of their impact — and bolstering BU’s future success — by creating gifts through their estates that name Bloomsburg as a beneficiary.

The BU Foundation’s planned giving program offers a variety of giving options that allow donors to support their passions in ways that best fit their lifestyle and future goals.

With giving options including bequests, gifts of life insurance, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, gifts of real estate, and Virtual Endowments, donors can make an impact at BU in a way that best fits their lifestyles and future goals.

Welcome to this year’s new members of BU’s Golden Dome Society.

In fiscal year 2019-20, The Golden Dome Society, BUF’s planned giving society surpassed 200 members who have included Bloomsburg in their estate plans.

These very special donors have helped us increase the Foundation’s pledged estate gifts to more than $48 million to secure a legacy of future support for our Huskies. Listed below are this year’s newest members of our planned giving family:

Christina D. Anderson ’08

April C. Edwards ’84

James ’84 and Debra F. Ferraro

Jeffrey B. King ’93

Audrey L. King ’84

Brenda W. Mack ’69

Charles J. Murphy ’83

Sue A. O’Donnell

Richard Rogers ’77

John Yurchak

Michael D. Zielinskie ’14

Rick Rogers '77

Rick is a longtime supporter of Bloomsburg University. He made his first gift in 1983 as soon as he had the means to give back. He has since made countless gifts to support several areas at BU.

In 2015, Rick created the Richard D. Rogers ‘77 scholarship, an annual scholarship to support BU Baseball players, because he wanted to make a greater impact.

This past year, Rick became a member of the Golden Dome Society when he learned that by making a bequest in his will to BUF for $25,000 he could endow his scholarship. Now, with a $1,000 annual gift each year, he can see the impact of his scholarship today while also knowing it will support BU student-athletes for years to come.

“This gift is the best of both worlds,” Rick says. “It lets me know that I will always be supporting BU, but I also get to meet the current recipients and learn about their goals and successes.”

Kyle Ofier '22

An aspiring high school math teacher, Kyle has always known that he wants to be a leader and help guide others to success.

His time as an education major with a focus on mathematics has only galvanized that passion.

According to Kyle, receiving the Richard D. Rogers ‘77 Scholarship helped him to achieve one of his goals at BU, which was to become captain of the baseball team.

“Receiving this scholarship really inspired me because it showed me that someone believed in me and wanted to help me succeed,” Kyle says. “So I just thought I should do the same and I tried my best to become a leader on our team. My coaches and teammates noticed and they made me team captain.”

Thank You, Huskies.