Making a Difference

Your generous support of the East Stroudsburg University Foundation helps us achieve our mission of fostering lifelong relationships with alumni and friends of the university and secure support to advance the university’s mission. We are honored to be able to enhance every student’s university experience. 

To further demonstrate the impact of philanthropy like yours, below are some special expressions of gratitude, direct from the students whose lives you have touched!

(Class of 2022)

Devin Kagel, Class of 2020

Emily Jimenez, a junior from Byram, N.J., is a recipient of The Students First Tuition Scholarship for out-of-state students. 

For Emily Jimenez, receiving a scholarship at East Stroudsburg University has been an eye-opening experience.

Jimenez, a junior from Byram, N.J., is a recipient of The Students First Tuition Scholarship for out-of-state students.

“I wasn’t aware about how the philanthropy at ESU worked until I received a scholarship myself and could benefit firsthand. It’s amazing to think that someone who doesn’t know you has the generosity to help you—and they might not even realize how much,” said Jimenez, a digital media technology major. “I’ve gotten to see how involved and invested the alumni are. They really care about the students and the community.”

As the student liaison to the ESU Foundation Board of Directors and president of the board for the university’s Warrior Elite, a student ambassadors program, Jimenez is involved in both student life and community relations. Through Warrior Elite, Jimenez connects students with alumni at alumni events.

“At the events, I’ve gotten to see what sweet, great people the alumni are,” Jimenez said. “Their financial support helps me with my tuition so that I can focus on my courses without having to worry about cost. The scholarship also motivates me to do my best to maintaina 3.0 GPA, and to get my GPA as high as possible.”

Jimenez is motivated to achieve — even overachieve — to create a good foundation for a successful future. She wants to land a good job to one day help give back to her family: mother Nancy O’Meara, stepfather, Sean O’Meara, and stepbrother, Hunter.

When she was younger, Jimenez watched her mother, who was a single mom at the time, work tirelessly to provide for her.

“She did everything in her power to make sure I was happy, healthy, and had everything I needed,” Jimenez said. “I’m making sure that I work hard now so that one day I can make sure my Mom is taken care of and she can relax.”

While growing up in Byram, about 30 minutes from East Stroudsburg, Jimenez remembers how her mother would talk to her about the importance of education. This message helped foster the strong work-ethic that Jimenez has today.

Within her major, Jimenez is on the social and interactive media track, with a goal of working in social media strategy and media design. Once established in her career, Jimenez plans to give back to ESU. “Investing in the future of the community and the school that gave you your foundation is a very important, honorable thing to do,” she said.

Affording college and also being a first gen college student has really been a rough ride, but I’m going to see it through. Thank you for your help, it won’t go to waste and never will be forgotten.

I deeply appreciate your contribution to my future.

I promise to make you proud by continuing my hard work here at ESU.

I cannot explain how grateful I am for this opportunity. I am a nontraditional student. In fact, I am the first in my family to graduate high school. I am older than most, and I had to figure out everything on my own.

(Class of 2022)

Devin Kagel, Class of 2020

Junior Isaac Cayo was the recipient of Student Emergency Funds following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent transition to all-virtual coursework at ESU.

Isaac Cayo received emergency financial support from ESU at the perfect times last spring. With campus and businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cayo wasn’t able to work at his part-time jobs to help his family pay rent on their home in Rhode Island.

“I applied for the aid and ESU Foundation sent the money directly to my family’s landlord. It really helped,” said Cayo, a 21-year-old junior exercise science major. Later in the spring, Cayo received more emergency support, which helped pay his car bill. “I was trying to figure out how to make the payment. When I got the email from ESU Foundation that I was getting help,

I was relieved,” said Cayo, who is on the wrestling team and aspires to be a strength and conditioning coach.

Growing up, Cayo’s family — his father, Leon, a Christian pastor and truck driver, and his mother Mona, a certified nursing aid — valued education, but were guided by their belief in God.

“My parents taught the importance of working hard for yourself. They would say, ‘you’re not doing school for us, you’re doing it for you, and God will guide you,’” Cayo said.

The family is from New York, but moved to Providence, R.I., in 2016 after Cayo’s father felt a calling to start his own church. Money was tight, and it was difficult to find an affordable church space, but Leon persevered. Finally he found a space to rent and build his congregation, which is still active today.

Even though Cayo’s father always found a way to provide for his family, seeing him struggle through hard financial times compels Cayo to work hard for his education. He hopes that a college degree will give his future family a happy, comfortable life.

“I don’t want to struggle. It hurts when you know you can’t have something. It gives you pain that you never want to experience again,” said a tearful Cayo sharing while in between virtual classes. “That’s why my education is so important. I put in a lot of time and money, but I am working hard because if I fail, it’s because I didn’t work hard enough.”

Cayo credits his dedicated professors for helping him stay on track when school challenges him.

“The professors care. They understand what you’re going through,” said Cayo. “Professor Chris Esposito, who taught Exercise Science Physiology 1 Lab, treated his students like colleagues. I could go to him and talk to him. I was struggling, and he continued to reach back out to check on me. He would put me in touch with people who had helped him. He was so relatable.”

Cayo’s life experiences have helped him gain perspective on giving.

“I know people who struggle more than me, so I can only imagine how they feel,” Cayo said. “I want people to feel cared for.”

(Class of 2021)

Devin Kagel, Class of 2020

Senior Gillian McEvoy is the recipient of the Colin Brett Orodenker Memorial annual

As a recipient of the Colin Brett Orodenker Memorial annual and endowed scholarships, senior Gillian McEvoy has been given more opportunities and motivation to achieve her full potential.

Both Orodenker scholarships are awarded to East Stroudsburg University students in the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management major who have a documented learning disability.

“Growing up, my parents valued education and pushed me to be the best student I could be, but school was something that did not come easily to me. I had to work really hard in order to do well,” said McEvoy, who is from Cortland, N.Y. “Receiving the scholarships has pushed me to be a better student to maintain the GPA I need, and to work harder so I can achieve success in my future career. I also want to show the Orodenker family that I value education and I am working hard to help carry on their legacy.”

Prior to receiving the scholarships, McEvoy was inspired by previous Orodenker scholarship recipients. She saw that the support helped those students to achieve success. However, it wasn’t until she received the scholarship herself that she realized the full impact of the gift.

“The scholarship gave me the opportunity to purchase my books and school supplies, and I was able to take an extra class because I had the financial support to do so,” McEvoy said. “I wouldn’t have been able to take extra credits otherwise. That extra class gave me a new opportunity and broadened my horizons.”

During her time at ESU, McEvoy has been active in student life. She is a member of the Hotel Restaurant Management Club and a member of Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Honor Society. She played on the lacrosse team for three years.

McEvoy is the daughter of David and Laurie McEvoy. She grew up on a farm south of Syracuse and about 30 minutes from Cornell University. Her mother works at the Statler Hotel on Cornell University’s campus, which is where McEvoy logged her 400 hours that her major requires as a prerequisite for an internship. After she graduates in December, McEvoy is interested in pursuing a career in human resources or airline hospitality.

“I have such a feeling of accomplishment from being able to carry on the Orodenker legacy,” McEvoy said. “The scholarships have made me realize how important it is to give back and how much it can help someone. When I’m financially independent, I hope that I can one day help someone in the same way.”

During an extraordinary time, you continue
to embrace the value of education

East Stroudsburg University and its students are fortunate to have you. As the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grips across the globe, ESU was not immune, prompting changes in campus and academic life. Athletic events were cancelled, students sent home and all coursework continued online only.

With these changes came unexpected expenses. Many students faced tremendous uncertainty in being able to complete the spring semester due to housing and transportation issues, limited technology and more. Through the ESU Foundation Student Emergency Fund, hundreds of you answered the call for help, providing $41,675 in gifts and equipment towards the Student Emergency Fund. Hear from one of the many students who, without your help, would not have been able to finish the semester.

Jessica Maksoud

Scholarships are often the saving grace for ESU students

We are excited to share that the ESU Foundation provided more than $1 million in scholarship support to students in 2019-2020. That is only possible through YOUR GENEROSITY!

Specifically, 673 scholarship awards were provided to deserving students, totaling $1,017,436.03. As of June 24, 2020, 26 new annual and 11 endowed scholarships were created by donors who recognize the importance of higher education.

While the numbers are exciting, what’s more compelling are the statements from students who received your support.

Daniela Montiel

I come from a big family, and the school payments were a heavy burden for my family’s finances. A load was lifted because of your generosity, and I’m extremely grateful.

Joshua Birnbaum

My lifelong dream has been to be able to cure diseases using animal DNA and genetics. With this scholarship, I will be able to make this dream come true.

Donors create variety of new scholarships

Megan Young, Class of 2021 and Henry Ocasio, Class of 2020

Psychology major Henry Ocasio, Class of 2020, and business management major Megan Young, Class of 2021, are this year’s recipients of the Semerod Family Annual Scholarship. Two scholarship awards are given by Scott and Nina Semerod to a student in each of these majors, awarded each spring for the following academic year.

Because of you, the ESU Foundation is halfway to its 2019-2020 goal in obtaining new scholarships. Since July 1, 2019, generous Warrior donors have created 13 new annual scholarships and four new endowed scholarships:

  • Hillary Benner Annual Scholarship
  • Randy and Tiffany Detrick Annual Scholarship
  • Drago Family Football Annual Scholarship
  • Bruno S. Klaus Women’s Acrobatic and Tumbling Annual Scholarship
  • Mr. and Mrs. R. Griggs Levy & Family Annual Scholarship
  • Pat McCarrick Field Hockey Annual Scholarship
  • Tom Petro Family Football Annual Scholarship
  • Bernie and Kathy Povanda Football Annual Scholarship
  • Semerod Family Annual Scholarship
  • Jeff Shrive Football Annual Scholarship
  • St. Luke’s Registered Nurse Annual Scholarship
  • Ryan and Ethan Swiderek Football Annual Scholarship
  • Phil "Tip" Calamia Memorial Annual Scholarship
  • Dr. Russell F. Jones ’80 Criminal Justice Endowed Scholarship
  • Darleen Schaare Schott ’63 Endowed Scholarship
  • Dr. Jeffrey and Mrs. Audrey Weber Endowed Scholarship
  • Alyssa Oxenford Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Please note: Scholarships listed are only those fully funded since July 1, 2019.

These new scholarships will allow students to explore their potential to the fullest with less worry about how to pay for their education. Some of the scholarships honor the donors’ own experiences and interests. Other scholarships were established to support students in specific academic areas or extracurricular activities, while others memorialize a family member or friend.

There are no limits to creating new scholarships and the gratitude the students have is immeasurable. Explore the ESU Foundation’s scholarship program.

Scholarship money erases uncertainty

Emily Cox, Class of 2021

Emily Cox is a member of the Frederick Douglass Debate Society and enjoys being a volunteer for just about anything around campus.

Emily Cox, Class of 2021, has always been the student helping the students.

“I love teaching,” said Cox, who is working toward her bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a history major and a concentration in social sciences at East Stroudsburg University.

Cox is certain that none of this would be possible without the Dr. Frederick S. ’32 and Marion Pelton Brown ’31 Endowed Scholarship she has received for the past three years.

“For me, without the scholarship, I don’t think I could be here. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to not worry about my books and my housing,” Cox said. “I want to make everyone who helped me- my family, the university, the donors- proud. I want to be a success story.”

Cox, who was born and raised in Honesdale, Pa., and now lives in Hawley, has made the dean’s list every semester at ESU.

“I want to do as well as I can,” she said. “In high school, I was related to the troublemakers, two of my brothers. I didn’t want the teachers to base their ideas of me on the behavior of my brothers.”

At ESU, there are no familial strings attached for Cox. In fact, she is the first of her and her six siblings to attend a university. One of her sisters attended community college.

“I feel I’ve gotten a lot stronger here, not just academically but personally. In high school, I felt like I needed more,” she said.

Cox’s first semester at ESU placed her in a class with history professor Dr. Michael Gray.

“I learned so much from him, not just the content, but how to be a good teacher,” said Cox. “That semester, I knew being a history teacher was right for me. I still talk to him, and he’s definitely one of my mentors on campus.

“My mom encouraged my love of reading and learning, and a lot of history courses have come naturally to me. I would just want to say thank you to the scholarship donors and everyone who helped me get these scholarships.”

Master’s candidate puts scholarship funds back into campus grounds

Weston Strubert '16

Weston Strubert

If not for the generosity of donors to the APSCURF ESU Chapter Annual Scholarship and the Geography Graduate Annual Scholarship, graduate student Weston Strubert would not be able to do one of the things he likes to do best: beautify the ESU campus through the planting and identification of plants and trees.

“For me, the financial aspect lets me do what I like to do: community service, volunteering, and research,” Strubert said.

The 2016 ESU environmental studies graduate from Pocono Summit, Pa., is now working toward his master’s degree in biology in the studies of geographic information systems and remote sensing in environmental science.

“I always knew I wanted to do a master’s program, specifically in botany, and get more knowledge in that,” said Strubert. “Learning, in general, is a big part of life. The more you know, the more questions you ask, the more interesting something is.”

Strubert and the ESU Environmental Club, of which he was president, published an Arboretum Guide that identifies all the plants on campus, including GPS locations and descriptions.

“I am proud of my ability to share this with the public. It is a very big win in my book,” Strubert said. “We made it in a way the public will understand and in a way they will be able to appreciate nature.”

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, continuing what he loves to do, made possible by ESU scholarship donors.

As Strubert told his scholarship donors in his application letter, “I am very involved within the ESU campus and I strive to make an impact in the community. With the scholarship funds, I plan on continuing my multiple research projects and aid in making ESU a frontrunner in the science field.”

CASSIDY CLARK believes in supporting something that has supported her

Cassidy Clark

Clark cherishes her job at ESU and the scholarship donors who make it possible for students to attend here.

Senior psychology major Cassidy Clark has a lot to say about East Stroudsburg University’s scholarship donors.

“Without our donors, many of us wouldn’t be here,” said Clark. “Having a scholarship feels like you have the backing of ESU. It makes you want to strive. I wish we could do more for donors, and I hope the students will pay it forward.”

Clark, who is also Head Resident Advisor for Laurel Hall, has been the recipient of the Agnes T. McCartney Endowed Scholarship for the past three years.

“Being an R.A. has shaped who I am, given me best friends, lifelong friends, and made me more confident,” Clark said. “R.A.s are here for the students. We get the 4 a.m. call when they’re locked out of their rooms. We are the fun police. We teach them how to do laundry. We see them find their passion.”

Clark found one of her passions by accident.

She was studying in Shawnee Hall when students began to gather for an R.A. meeting, but Clark didn’t feel like moving her things to study elsewhere.

“They were talking about free housing, and I realized it was a bigger operation,” said Clark. “I had no intentions, but now here I am, an R.A.”

Clark, who is from Lehighton, is a first-generation college student, and the more she experienced ESU, the more she fell in love with it.

“Being away from home felt like home,” Clark said. “The faculty at Accepted Students’ Day made me want to be part of everything. It was like them saying they wanted me before I got here.”

Clark feels the same way about the donors who have helped make her college experience a reality and wants other students to know that not all scholarships are based on GPA.

“Receiving scholarships helped shape me into being who I am,” said Clark. “I want to put a face to who they’re helping.”

Scholarships drive ESU hurler

Dominic Walton, Class of 2020

Dominic Walton, preparing to throw the discus, appreciates the scholarship gifts he has received.

When Dominic Walton, Class of 2020, was awarded three different scholarships, it inspired him to work harder as a thrower on East Stroudsburg University’s track and field team and as an accounting major in the classroom.

“I feel like if I do well, I’ll be rewarded in some kind of way,” Walton said.

Walton’s good grades were rewarded through the Students First Tuition Scholarship. Walton would like to be a forensics accountant for the U.S. government after graduation.

“It makes me happy that what I’m doing takes the stress of fees and tuition off my parents. I want to make them proud and make them happy,” said Walton, who lives in Old Bridge, N.J.

Walton also received the Dr. Richard and Mrs. Jean DeSchriver Track & Field Annual Scholarship, established in the name of ESU’s former track and cross country coach, and the Barry S. Krammes ’04 Annual Scholarship, awarded to track and field team members who are throwers. Krammes is a world-class javelin thrower and currently coaches track & field at East Stroudsburg South High School.

Walton throws the shot put (55-4), discus (163-11), and hammer (156-8). Shot put is his best event while discus is his favorite. He is hoping to break the ESU record in the latter, held by Dane Cochran with a distance of 168-11 from 1980.

“Track and field has had a big impact on my life. It can apply to daily life with time management, balance, and dealing with stress,” Walton said.

Walton’s parents have also had an impact, telling their son, if you’re going to do something, stick to it. It’s that motivation that drives Walton to continually work harder and do better.

Transfer bio major makes the most of scholarship

Sadie Carney, Class of 2019

Sadie Carney is looking forward to attending medical school and will be forever grateful to ESU’s scholarship donors.

Sadie Carney, Class of 2019, is a lot of things: the youngest of nine children, a transfer student, a biology major, and the recipient of the Mattioli Recreation Center Scholarship.

“I had to write about how I advocate for a healthy lifestyle,” said Carney. “I lived on the fourth floor of Hawthorne my junior year and I never took the elevator, so I wrote about that. I’m a vegetarian and I talked about my eating style.”

Most of Carney’s siblings graduated from college, and three, including herself, are still attending. Her father is disabled, so the scholarship money Carney received was extremely appreciated.

“I was very happy and excited to tell my family,” said Carney, who lives in Johnstown, Pa. “I want to thank the donors for the scholarship.”

Carney is making the most of life at ESU on the cheerleading team, in concert band, the transfer honor society, and the student senate. She won the Spanish Award, Biology Tutor of the Month, Relay for Life Award, and Student Senator of the Month.

“I love being busy and never want to have to wonder, ‘what if,’” she said.

Three months after graduation, Carney will begin medical school at the American University of Antigua in Antigua.

ESU junior does his part

Shane McGrath, Class of 2020

Shane McGrath poses in Koehler Fieldhouse where he spends time as the ESU Warrior when he’s not too busy as president of the Health & Phys Ed Club.

Shane McGrath, Class of 2020, has heard all the stories about student loan debt from his older brother and sister, which is why he is even more appreciative of having received the Class of 1942 Endowed Scholarship.

“My older brother and older sister are paying off their loans now, and I hear about it at Christmas,” said the health and physical education teacher education major. “Scholarships take a load off a future of paying.”

With this realization, McGrath, who is president of the Health and Phys Ed Club, has applied for and just received three more department scholarships for next year: the James R. Chamberlain ’69 Endowed Scholarship, the Class of 1938 Endowed Scholarship, and the Frank D. and Marjorie C. Sills Endowed Scholarship, while working as a rope course facilitator at Stony Acres which is an ESU recreation site, and as a work/study student.

McGrath is also one of two ESU Warrior mascots, a role he has played since he was a freshman.

“This has been my busiest year,” he said. “It’s making me a better person and a better professional. I believe the experiences within the experiences will help shape my life in general.”

McGrath became the Warrior mascot after he saw a sign posted on campus.

“I put on the suit, they put on the music, and I was a WWE fan at the time, so I just did those kinds of moves,” said McGrath. “Five minutes later, I got an email saying I got the job, and that weekend I had an event.”

When McGrath is not entertaining at football and basketball games, he is laboring happily at Stony Acres.

“I like being outside, fixing things up and cleaning up. It’s my comfort zone, and it’s a relief from on-campus pressure and stress. Stony Acres has great people there that I enjoy being with,” McGrath said.

As president of the Health and Phys Ed Club, McGrath initiates events so members can get hands-on experience. He also attends the Pennsylvania State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PSAHPERD) Conference every fall semester. It is the HPE profession’s statewide organization.

“Every year we like to have the most representation there,” he said. “I do these things because I enjoy doing them. I don’t do them to stack my resume. I know I can do a good job.”

Radio scholarship eases college debt

Vincent Gervasi, Class of 2019

Vincent Gervasi hosts “The Fabulous Show” on 90.3 WESS FM every Wednesday from 9 - 10 p.m.

For the past four years, Vincent Gervasi, Class of 2019, has thrown his heart and soul into East Stroudsburg University’s campus radio station, 90.3 WESS FM, and is this year’s recipient of the WESS Service Award Annual Scholarship, established “to recognize the duties of certain students at the campus radio station.”

“I was definitely happy to receive it. In the future, it will help me with paying back student loans since I will have less to pay back,” Gervasi said. “I don’t get much financial aid and that was another reason that drove me to run for station manager.”

WESS is a student-run organization, and when DJs are not on the air, the station is a place where members like to gather and spend time with each other.

“I knew the radio station was where I needed to be. I learned a lot about the station and the field,” said Gervasi. “Almost all my friends are from the radio station, and it’s like a safe zone on campus for kids to come.”

Dr. Robert McKenzie is WESS’s university advisor.

“I met Rob McKenzie when I first joined the radio station,” Gervasi said. “I only had him for two classes, but we clicked really well. He has helped me grow as a leader, a person, and a student.”

A disc jockey for WESS since his freshman year in 2015, Gervasi, who is now a senior, has risen to station manager. He oversees the radio station’s officers and DJs, leads projects and event coordination, and keeps in touch with the university.

To be considered for the WESS Service Award Annual Scholarship, a candidate must hold an elected or appointed office at WESS, must be in good standing with the WESS staff, must commit within reason to continuing to carry out the duties of the office after the award has been received, and must be in good social standing at the time of the award.

Gervasi has done all of the above and then some. On April 12, 2019, Gervasi and the WESS staff will host Spring Jam, a 12-hour music broadcast on campus.

Prior to graduation on May 11, Gervasi, who is from Phoenixville, Pa., hopes to have landed a job in studio and live production, at QVC, for example, where he was recently an intern in master control.

Donors come through for bio student

Valerie Munoz, Class of 2022

Valerie Munoz is a senator for the ESU Student Government Association.

Valerie Munoz, Class of 2022, is a biology major who is embracing East Stroudsburg University in every way. She is this year’s recipient of the George R. Bennyhoff ’65 Annual Scholarship and the Eugene E. Stish Endowed Scholarship.

Munoz is also a senator in student government, a member of the pre-med club, and a member of the feminist alliance.

“It’s so welcoming and happy here. I’ve made a decent amount of friends, I’m involved on campus, and I have good grades,” Munoz said. “It’s been honestly wonderful and a lot better than I expected.”

Munoz, from Tobyhanna, Pa., had not expected to attend ESU at all. Instead, she had intended to enroll at another university when she was notified it had overfunded and had to take back her financial aid. Left with shock, sadness, and nowhere to go, Munoz knew she would have to pull it together, work full time, save her money, and look for a cost-effective college.

“I was really, really upset. It wasn’t easy. I tried to put that aside,” said Munoz.

Within a year, Munoz was prepared to attend ESU and register for a payment plan when she experienced a different kind of shock when she was awarded two scholarships.

“It was definitely financial relief, and I was very, very excited because ESU really helped out,” Munoz said.