Program Receives a $1 Million Endowment Gift

STONE RIDGE – SUNY Ulster is proud to announce the SUNY Ulster President’s Challenge Scholarship in Honor of President Emeritus Robert T. Brown, is the recipient of a $1,000,000 gift from SUNY Ulster’s champion and most prolific donor, Ms. Darlene L. Pfeiffer. “Giving is living. The more we give, the more we live, and we live eternally.” said Darlene. Ms. Pfeiffer attended a dinner party at Diamond Mills Tavern in Saugerties, N.Y. to be acknowledged for her lifetime giving, which was approaching $1,000,000 in 2021-22 in support of SUNY Ulster and its students, when she announced a new gift which will form an endowment to support the President’s Challenge Scholarship (PSC), a program founded in 2016 that assists first-generation college-bound high school students with overcoming the financial barriers associated with attending college. Students, identified in eighth grade by sponsoring school districts, receive guidance counseling and mentoring through the completion of high school and are awarded a two-year tuition-free college education at SUNY Ulster. There are currently 50 college-bound students awarded annually from all nine Ulster County school districts.

PCS sponsorships to date, raised through expansive outreach to the community and efforts by the entire Foundation Board, have grown to over $1,000,000 in scholarships for Ulster County students. Dr. Alan P. Roberts, SUNY Ulster President said, “I am beyond grateful to Darlene for her continued stewardship to SUNY Ulster and for her generosity to support our students and the President’s Challenge Scholarship.”

Executive Director Lorraine Salmon and Darlene Pfeiffer
Executive Director Lorraine Salmon and Darlene Pfeiffer

The dinner held on June 24, 2021, was attended by SUNY Ulster President, Dr. Alan P. Roberts and Linda Bradford, Chief of Staff Jennifer Zell and Patrick Zell, Foundation Executive Director Lorraine Salmon, Tim Sweeney, past SUNY Ulster Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Laurel Sweeney, current Chairman of the Ulster Community College Foundation, Donna Croce, PCS Ambassador and Sponsor, and Paul L. DeLisio, PCS Sponsor. Darlene thanked Tim and Laurel Sweeney for serving as PCS Ambassadors and for personally “friend-raising” a substantial portion of the donated scholarship funds. Darlene also thanked Rich and Donna Croce for their early commitment to the PCS program, for personally sponsoring 15 students into the scholarship program, and for providing more than 10% of the funding of the first million dollars raised.

Foundation Chairman, Laurel Sweeney, stated, “It is a great honor to chair the Ulster Community College Foundation, and I’d like to thank Darlene for her incredible gift to the PCS Program. This endowment will enable us to truly change students’ lives through this innovative program, starting with students in 8th grade throughout Ulster County. I join all my colleagues on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, staff, and students when I say, “Thank you, Darlene!”

The group shared laughter and tears as the friends and advocates for SUNY Ulster came together for a photo. Jenn Zell, Chief of Staff for SUNY Ulster announced that cake would be served. The cake read “Thanks a Million,” bringing more laughter as those who came to honor Darlene L. Pfieffer had more than a million reasons to be thankful.

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