Dr. Joseph A. Merenda ’50 M’54 and his wife, Marie, have been educators for many years, and they’re so passionate about education they established a scholarship to help inspire future teachers from SUNY Oswego.
But for Joseph, an Oswego native, the start on the path to becoming an educator may have begun at SUNY Oswego’s Campus School, where he attended second through eighth grades.
“We did wonderful things there,” said Joseph, who went on to become a teacher and principal. “We were so busy doing things, learning things, presenting things.
Of course, we had the college right at our back door. Oswego was a place where teachers, and many student teachers, hovered over us, and were passionate
about children and teaching. This experience gave me a positive outlook of the college and teaching.”
The Merendas met on the job; he was a teacher and she was the school secretary at No. 30 School in Rochester, N.Y. They married and had five children, Joseph Jr., Jean Merenda Conway M’95, Elizabeth, Rosemarie and Albert. After raising their children, Marie returned to school and became a teacher and principal herself.
Being educators strongly influenced their decision to establish a scholarship at Oswego.
“It made us become more active in our pursuit of providing more and better opportunities for all students,” Marie said. “It provided us with continuing interest and responsibility to be active participants in organizations that respond to the needs of children.”
The scholarship they established will be awarded to an incoming first-year SUNY Oswego student with financial need who enrolls in the School of Education. The first scholarship will be awarded for a freshman entering in fall 2015.
“We encourage the recipient to pursue excellence in his or her studies and to be passionate about teaching and educational opportunities for all students, as we are,” Marie said. “We want all children to be successful, especially those who are disadvantaged. We both taught in inner city schools, and we know educational opportunities are very important.”
—Edwin Acevedo M’09