Tamilia Honors Mom with Scholarship

With lovingly prepared dinners, encouraging words and a willing ear, Josephine Tamilia sustained her family as they pursued their dreams.

Josephine Tamilia portrait

Josephine Tamilia

So when Lisa Tamilia ’89 looked out over a sea of faces as she gave the keynote address at Honors Convocation in April 2010, she knew in an instant how she could best honor the memory of her mother, who had passed away in 2001.

As she addressed the hundreds of students being recognized for their academic achievements alongside their supportive parents, Tamilia was inspired to endow a scholarship for an Oswego student in memory of her mother.

“She was always encouraging … always there to believe in you,” Tamilia said of her mother.

An avid Syracuse University basketball fan, Josephine Tamilia was full of “happy energy,” according to her daughter.

A very sociable person, she loved cooking great Italian meals for family occassions. She enjoyed international travel, and Lisa Tamilia cherishes memories of family trips to Italy when she was just 3 years old and Argentina when she was 5.

The Lisa Tamilia ’89 Alumni Scholarship in Memory of Josephine Tamilia benefits a School of Business student with financial need, who has overcome some obstacle or challenge on the way to a degree. Rather than tying the scholarship to a grade point average, Tamilia sought a student who was focused on achieving outside the classroom, giving back to the campus and community.

She feels the college found a worthy first recipient in Trevor Bacon ’15, a business administration major.

He is president of the Seneca Hall Council and a member of the new SUNY Oswego Investment Club, created with an endowment from Gordon Lenz ’58. Bacon was elected vice president of the Residence Hall Advisory Board and officiates at sporting events for Campus Recreation.

Lisa Tamilia and scholarship recipient

Lisa Tamilia ’89, left, endowed a scholarship in memory of her mother, Josephine Tamilia, with Trevor Bacon ’15, right, as the first recipient.

The son of a commercial loan officer, Bacon aims to follow in his father’s footsteps with a career in banking. He embarked on the road toward that career this summer, working over the break as a bank teller.

“I chose the right university and the right major,” Bacon wrote in his scholarship application. “The great community of friends I have and the relationship with my professors are a big part of my current and future success at Oswego.”

Tamilia credits Oswego with a role in her own success. Currently senior district sales manager for Erie Insurance Group, she is an active and generous alumna.

Tamilia is a member of the School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and Alumni Sharing Knowledge program. She also has students shadow her on the job to gain important experience and networking opportunities, and serves as a trainer and mentor to the Students in Free Enterprise organization at Oswego. She was a 2006 recipient of Central New York 40 Under 40 and now serves as a judge for the competition.

Through her daughter’s generous gift of an endowed scholarship, Josephine Tamilia will be able to support generations of Oswego students on the way to their academic dreams.

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