Alumna leaves $1,339,000 gift to fund scholarship

The College got a major unexpected gift from the estate of college alumna Mary Myketiuk, resulting in a family foundation that will provide scholarships for up to five education majors each year.

According to John Marcy, vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs, the interest on the $1,339,000 principal should provide $55,000 to $60,000 annually to pay for the tuition of selected students.

According to William Behre, interim dean of the School of Education, the earliest that scholarships from Myketiuk’s trust can be awarded is Spring 2007, in anticipation of the Fall 2007 semester.

Of the five possible scholarships, two will be designated for secondary education/English majors.

Although Myketiuk’s will did not specify English education majors as recipients, her attorney, Robert Novy, has said that Myketiuk had a special passion for English and Shakespeare in particular, according to Marcy.

Myketiuk’s gift is set up as a family trust, which is like an endowment.

The initial principal on the investment will remain untouched, and only the interest on it will be paid out each year.

The value of the scholarships will vary depending on the amount of money the trust generates, but will go toward the tuition of the selected students.

“I’m envisioning this as a significant part of tuition,” Behre said. “It’s the most significant gift earmarked for the School of Education since I’ve been a faculty member.”

The School of Education has not decided on the exact criteria for distributing the scholarship.

Myketiuk’s will designated that the recipients of the scholarship must have a 3.0 GPA and an interest in education – a standard which, Behre said, much of the school meets.

Behre said that his school will meet with the English department to finalize the criteria. He said that he envisions the recipients as English education or education majors with strengths in a variety of areas.

“Strong academics is a given,” Behre said. He added that the recipients would most likely have to demonstrate need for the scholarship and show promise in the field of education.

According to Marcy, it is unclear whether Myketiuk, who graduated with a degree in English and prepared to teach English in high school, ever did so full-time. She worked at a variety of administrative assistant jobs, and was at one time a computer programmer employed at companies such as GE Services, Blue Cross of New York and AGS Computers.

According to Marcy, Myketiuk’s second cousin Lois Maloney, who administers Myketiuk’s estate, described Myketiuk as very humble, unassuming, and generous.

The gift came about, Marcy said, when Novy asked Myketiuk during estate planning whether she had any favorite charities. She said that she was fond of the College and wished to give to it. Myketiuk left her entire estate, minus some small bequests to relatives, to set up the foundation of which the College is the sole beneficiary.

“We don’t get seven-figure gifts every day,” Marcy said.

For College students, Myketiuk’s gift may be a way to realize the education for which they had been hoping.

“Five students who otherwise might not be able to pursue their degree can do so because of the foresight of Ms. Myketiuk,” Behre said.