Jeff and Mary Helen Holzschuh stood earlier than a crowd at Niagara University on Wednesday as a profitable couple who gave their alma mater $10 million – one of many largest presents within the college’s 166-year historical past, incomes their identify on its enterprise faculty.
However when it got here time to talk, Jeff Holzschuh choked up considering of the younger couple they had been 40 years in the past, whose scholarships to attend Niagara made his profession in finance and hers in nursing potential.
“We’ve been really fortunate to be able to give back,” Holzschuh mentioned by way of tears because the college devoted the newly christened Holzschuh Faculty of Business Administration. “Our goal has three objectives, but number one is giving a whole bunch of students the ability to come here like we did, and they probably need some help.”
Apart from giving the enterprise faculty a reputation, their reward will present 5 enterprise and 5 nursing scholarships annually, mentioned Niagara University President Rev. James Maher.
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“The idea is to recruit students who are academically attuned and have need,” Maher mentioned. “So this will be helping working poor and middle class students have the opportunity to study here.”
A portion of the reward additionally will assist help the lads’s and girls’s basketball groups, as a result of Jeff Holzschuh earned his enterprise diploma on a basketball scholarship.
And the couple’s third goal, he mentioned, “is we hope to inspire a bunch of people to support us and keep this going for the next 50 or 100 years.”
Mark Frascatore, dean of the enterprise school, mentioned the reward comes after just a few of years of strife. 4 years in the past, New York state adopted the Excelsior Scholarship that makes it potential for college students to attend SUNY faculties tuition-free, which posed enormous recruiting challenges for personal faculties comparable to Niagara, he mentioned.
The college was making strides in recruiting when the pandemic hit in 2019, forcing faculties to shift courses on-line. In July 2021, as issues had been easing up, heavy rain precipitated extreme flooding that broken Bisgrove Corridor, the bodily dwelling of the enterprise faculty, requiring main repairs.
“Today, applications and deposits for fall 2022 are up, portending a great class of incoming freshmen,” Frascatore mentioned, “And with this generous gift from the Holzschuhs, we again have a feeling of optimism, of promise and new beginnings.”
Maher described Jeff and Mary Helen Holzschuh as “students from real, humble families who worked hard to change their lives.”
Jeffrey Holzschuh, a Rochester native, mentioned the college’s small measurement and sense of neighborhood allowed him to fulfill its trustees, together with the late Dick Chapdelaine, who helped him get his first job on Wall Road at Morgan Stanley. Almost 39 years later, he’s nonetheless with the agency as chair of its institutional securities division. “That worked out pretty well,” he deadpanned.
The previous Mary Helen Mahoney earned her nursing diploma at Niagara and went on to work as a nurse at Robust Memorial Hospital in Rochester and Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Heart earlier than taking time to lift a household of their dwelling of Greenwich, Conn.
The Holzschuhs have been sturdy supporters of their alma mater – each had been awarded Niagara’s Medial of Honor in 2017 for his or her success and repair – and provides cash to many causes. However they’ve by no means made a present of this measurement till now, Jeff Holzschuh mentioned. It’s the largest alumni reward in Niagara historical past and, with their earlier donations, make the couple the college’s largest benefactors.
Holzschuh mentioned he and his spouse need to pay it ahead just because they’re grateful. The signal that the college unveiled Wednesday features a picture of them and a quote from St. Vincent DePaul: “We should spend as much time in thanking God for his benefits as we do in asking Him for them,” it mentioned.
Holzschuh additionally joked about their identify (pronounced “Hole-shoe”) now gracing the enterprise faculty.
“I apologize for the fact that the staff, faculty and everyone else is going to have to learn how to spell it” he mentioned.