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New gifts raise $1.5 million for the Educational Opportunity Program

Two new gifts to the SUNY New Paltz Foundation totaling $1.5 million will create new scholarships for SUNY New Paltz students in the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

On behalf the McShane family, Dennis McShane ’77 (Russian Studies) announced a pledge of $1 million through the Advertising Checking Bureau, Inc., toward the creation of an endowment and an annual scholarship fund, both designed to support EOP students and both honoring the memory of the late Brian McShane ’74 (English), a former Foundation Board Director and longtime friend of the University who passed in 2021.

An additional pledge of $500,000 from Philip M. Berkowitz ’75 (Journalism) and Mary Ann Quinn will establish an annual scholarship fund, the Philip M. Berkowitz ’75 & Mary Ann Quinn EOP Scholarship Fund, to support and encourage EOP students.

“These generous contributions, which are among the largest ever received by the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, will make incredible things possible for our students and for our Educational Opportunity Program,” said Erica Marks, Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the SUNY New Paltz Foundation. “I extend my deepest gratitude to the McShane family and to Phillip Berkowitz and Mary Ann Quinn for their philanthropic vision and their impactful legacies of support for generations of New Paltz students.”

EOP at SUNY New Paltz supports students throughout their college careers by providing access, academic stability, and financial aid for those who have strong potential for success in higher education but are limited by financial and educational barriers. Although tuition costs are covered for many EOP students, the average student still has an unmet need of $15,000 per year. Scholarships for EOP students help close this gap and empower students to fulfill their potential at the University and beyond.

News of these gifts was first shared at a June 2024 retirement reception for longtime EOP Director Antonio Bonilla ’87 ’05g, who first entered the New Paltz Educational Opportunity Program as a student, and later rose to be one of its defining leaders.

Both the McShane and Berkowitz families shared notes of gratitude that were read at the celebration in Bonilla’s honor.

“My brother, Brian, recognized your great work and made numerous contributions to EOP fund raising campaigns during his life,” Dennis McShane wrote. “It is exciting to think that hundreds if not thousands of students will be given the opportunity to make positive changes to their lives and their families through this scholarship. The ripple effects of these opportunities are immeasurable. All we can do is be the pebble to create those ripples.”

A portion of the gift from Berkowitz and Quinn will be allocated through planned giving. Through this request, they will become the newest members of the SUNY New Paltz Tower Society.

“Tony, thank you for all the work you have done for the students and the University,” wrote Berkowitz and Quinn. “We are grateful for the difference you have made—for the students in EOP and for the University as a whole that has benefited—and we are proud to have played a small role in those efforts.”

A portion of each gift will additionally provide support for the Fund for New Paltz, which enables programs that create enriching connections between students and alumni, such as the Women’s Leadership Summit and the Orange & Blue Network.


About the SUNY New Paltz Foundation

Founded in 1976, the SUNY New Paltz Foundation works to enrich the quality of academic life at New Paltz by raising private contributions. Gifts to the Foundation enhance the teaching, learning and discovery that takes place on campus, and allow New Paltz to enrich the cultural, economic, and social fabric of the Mid-Hudson region. Learn more here.