New Paltz Foundation receives largest bequest to date from retired professor

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz’s Foundation received a gift of nearly $200,000 from Olga Santora, retired professor of elementary education who passed away in May 2010. The conditions of the gift stipulate that it benefit graduate students in the School of Education who are pursuing a master’s degree or a Certificate of Advanced Studies.

Dr. Olga Santora

Santora’s bequest creates the Foundation’s largest endowment for graduate students, and is the largest gift the College has received from a current or former member of the faculty.

“This is a large, and extremely generous, bequest that will enhance the Graduate School’s efforts to recruit and prepare outstanding graduate students,” said Laurel M. Garrick Duhaney, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “It’s a gift that will profoundly impact the lives of graduate students, the work of the college, and the wider Hudson Valley community where scholarship recipients will serve as educational leaders and facilitators of learning. Dr. Santora will long be remembered for her unstinting commitment to education and for her philanthropy,” said Duhaney.

Santora taught in New Paltz’s School of Education for 23 years. She was influential in starting the School’s master’s program in reading and was the program’s first director until her retirement in 1985.

“Dr. Santora truly loved children’s literature. She was admired by her many New Paltz students, and she enjoyed teaching them about all facets of reading. She played a vital role in both the Elementary Education Department and the School of Education,” said Robert Michael, recently retired dean of the School of Education.

Bequests to SUNY New Paltz allow the College to offer scholarships and programs that enhance opportunities for students and enrich their educational experience. In 2005, New Paltz received a scholarship bequest of $1 million from alumna Ruth De Roberts.
This gift was the single-largest bequest and the largest gift to a scholarship fund in the campus’ history. It offers scholarships to high-achieving graduates of Yonkers and Rye public high schools.

In addition New Paltz’s Muriel and Jack Smolen Observatory was funded from a bequest from Muriel Smolen. The Observatory supports the College’s astronomy program and is used to train science teachers and to inspire young students’ interest in the sciences.

To make a contribution to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation that will support scholarships, campus programs and student/faculty mentoring experiences, visit or to speak with a Gifts Officer call 845-257-3239