Mark Baum ’81, co-chair of the Possibility Scholarship subcommittee of the Oswego College Foundation Board of Directors, and his wife, Cathy, aren’t just urging others to support the new initiative, they are leading by example.
The Baums have endowed a possibility scholar in perpetuity. Their gift will fund the full tuition, room and board; Global Laboratory experience; and summer research experience for a new scholar every four years.
“For us, philanthropy falls into three buckets: professional, practical and personal,” said Mark Baum. The Possibility Scholar program met their criteria on all three counts.
He noted that, according to the Daily Beast.com, by 2020, the United States will need 120 million workers for highly skilled technical jobs, but will have only 50 million trained.
“In part, that’s why Oswego’s Possibility Scholar campaign is so
important,” he said.
The second bucket is practical. “The Possibility Scholar campaign is at the intersection of the two great planks of public higher education: accessibility and quality. The Possibility Scholar program is geared to students who have the academic credentials but lack financial means,” Baum said.
“It’s literally global in scale,” said Baum. “We have an energized and enthusiastic faculty to drive the program, and willing partners around the world to
create a high quality comprehensive experience in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.
“So it‘s really in that respect at the heart of the mission of public higher
education,” he said.
Finally, for the Baums, the third bucket of their philanthropy is personal, with their earlier giving coming from very personal experiences at Oswego.
He said he and Cathy donated to the Campus Center because they viewed it as “the heart and soul of the revitalization of the Oswego campus and campus life, and worthy of that kind of support.”
Their scholarship for a fallen friend and support of the 9/11 Memorial Garden was based on friendships formed at Oswego.
“Now we want to endow a part of a program that gives us great satisfaction, knowing that this Possibility Scholar intitiative will last into perpetuity and will give present and future students the very best of those opportunities,” he said.
— Michele Reed
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