Gary Klatsky had three great passions: his family, his students and the New York Yankees.
When Klatsky, the first director of Oswego’s Human-Computer Interaction master of arts program and professor of psychology, passed away of brain cancer in 2009, his sister, Susan Klatsky Cohen, and wife, Rhonda Mandel, wanted to perpetuate his memory by helping a student in the program he founded.
“Gary, Rhonda and I spoke at great length on how to honor and remember him. We agreed that contributions to cancer research organizations would get lost in the shuffle and we wanted something that would be more meaningful. We spoke about several other options, but it always came back to teaching — about how he had found his passion and the joy he experienced working with students,” said Cohen. “The letters from the students he mentored at Oswego, describing the impact he had on their lives, are amazing. The scholarship was a way of giving back to a school he loved so much.
“It was an easy decision. It was what Gary wanted, celebrating his teaching career and his students.”
The first recipient of the award, Julia Kester ’10, is enrolled in the HCI program now. She graduated from Oswego with a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design.
As an undergraduate, Kester was very involved with Mu Beta Psi, the national honorary music fraternity. She also played broomball for four years and was captain of a team for two years. During her senior year, she became active in Break Thru Design, the campus graphic design club. In her hometown of Boston, N.Y., she was actively involved in the Boston Fireman’s Auxiliary. “I am extremely honored to receive this award,” she said. “The Gary Klatsky Memorial Scholarship will help me in my goal to complete graduate school.”
“Gary was a passionate and dedicated teacher and a recipient of a scholarship award when he was an undergraduate that allowed him to go to graduate school,” said Mandel, dean of Oswego’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He always wanted to give other students the opportunity he had. With this scholarship fund, we are able to make his wishes come true.”
— Michele Reed