When Rwanda Douglas ’19 transferred to SUNY Oswego as a sophomore from Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., she said she felt a little bit of culture shock. As a first-generation college student, she said she didn’t know about all the resources on the campus, and unlike other situations in her life, her parents weren’t able to offer her much help.
“At times, I felt like I was just this one, small student on a big campus,” Douglas said. “I just tried to work hard and do my best.”
So when she heard that she had been selected to receive the Nunzio “Nick” C. and Lorraine E. Marano Scholarship, she said she was thrilled.
“To be noticed for my hard work really makes me feel good and motivates me,” she said, adding that the $5,000 scholarship will go a long way in lightening the financial burden for her and her parents.
Douglas is one of 62 students who have been selected to be the inaugural Marano Scholars, named in honor of the late Nick and Lorraine Marano, Oswego County residents. The couple operated a prosperous agricultural business on a muck farm in Scriba, N.Y., and both were active in Sacred Heart Church in Scriba. Nick owned Marano Vacuum Cooling and Sales Inc. and held a seat on the New York Mercantile Exchange until his death in 2002.
Lorraine Marano, who passed away on Oct. 1, 2013, designated $7.5 million from her estate to benefit SUNY Oswego. In recognition of her generous gift and community spirit, the State University of New York approved naming SUNY Oswego’s campus center facility, the Marano Campus Center.
The gift established an endowment that is funding annually 62 scholarships of $5,000 each. The scholarships are awarded to first-generation students with financial
need and are renewable as long as the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.
“Lorraine would be very proud of these students,” said Lorraine’s close friend, Theresa Scanlon, who met some of the scholarship recipients during a Scholars Breakfast in the Sheldon Hall Ballroom during Homecoming 2017. “She believed in the value of higher education and its role as the foundation for future success. She would be happy to know that these students are furthering their education so that they can have a productive future.”
Scanlon said that Lorraine wanted to ease the students’ financial worries so that they could focus more on their studies and excel.
Lorraine Marano graduated from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.) with a bachelor’s degree, Drexel University with a master’s degree and the accelerated paralegal program at Syracuse University. She worked for many years as a librarian at Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey, and then worked for Resorts International and Tropicana Casinos in Atlantic City.
“She would have been so very honored to meet these students and happy that she had the opportunity to help them,” Scanlon said.
For more information on the Marano Scholars, visit alumni.oswego.edu/scholarships.