Pictured: In the 2012-2013 academic year, (left to right): Veronica Ann Barone '14 (Totowa, NJ) and David Gonzalez '14 (Easton, PA) received the F. T. Aquilino Memorial Scholarship; Courtney Dacheux '15 (Dover, PA) received the Susan Miller Honorary Scholarship; and Eileen Reavey '13 (Frederick, MD) received the Calvin Allen Lowe Leadership Award.
On a brilliant late summer Tuesday morning in New York, F. T. Aquilino, who at 26 years of age had become the youngest partner ever at Cantor Fitzgerald, settled into his chair on the 105th floor of One World Trade Center to begin his day as he always did. The 1997 graduate of York College, who was universally known and loved during his years on campus, would never come home, one of the thousands of people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
In an effort to create something positive in the wake of that unspeakable tragedy, his family, friends and fraternity brothers at York College united to establish a scholarship fund in memory of F. T., the fun-loving, compassionate visionary who was a two-time student government president, and the first student to serve on the YCP Board of Trustees.
F. T.'s father, Frank Aquilino, was astonished by the outpouring of support for the scholarship from the York College community. "The number of people who contributed to the scholarship was amazing," he says. "I was overwhelmed. I just didn’t know how many people he had touched on that campus."
The F. T. Aquilino Memorial Scholarship provides an annual award to a full-time student who is active in Student Government or Greek life. "I am so proud," Mr. Aquilino says, "that every year, through the scholarship, F. T. is having a direct impact on someone’s life who really needs the help. It just makes me feel very good to know he is still touching people’s lives."
Randy Miller '81 met his wife, Susan, an Assistant Producer for the Late Show with David Letterman, on a blind date in Manhattan. He was immediately impressed with how nice, kind, helpful and generous she was, qualities that continue to define her to this day, 12 years into their marriage.
For her birthday in 2007, Randy came up with a brilliant idea. Susan had always wanted to be a nurse and, although she had taken a different career path, it didn’t diminish her regard for the profession. As her present that year, he established the Susan Miller Honorary Scholarship at YCP, which provides a yearly award to a Nursing major. Susan attended Hofstra University, so why York College?
"York College was a very positive four years of my life," explains Randy, "and I knew that if I ever had the chance to give back, even in a small way, I wanted to make a difference. I think it is just the right thing to do."
So how did Susan react to such an unusual birthday gift? "She was surprised, and deeply touched," says Randy. "It was something different, but incredibly meaningful. To this day, Susan is moved by the letters we receive from the scholarship recipients."
He adds, "I’ve also had the privilege of attending the scholarship dinner, driving to campus from New York and Florida, and that means a lot to me. One of the reasons that I set up the scholarship is that I want to see how my giving is having an impact on someone’s life, and I really enjoy meeting the recipients. It's a great feeling to know you are making a difference in someone’s life.
The excitement was growing for Dr. Calvin and Rev. Tanya Lowe in May 2010 as they counted the final days until they would drive north from their home in Maryland to attend their son’s graduation at York College. They had been surprised that their son, also named Calvin, had decided to attend YCP. The first semester was a little rough, but after he adjusted, it became his favorite place. It was his home.
Just five days before he was to receive his diploma, Calvin passed away from a blood clot, shocking and saddening everyone who knew the young man with the "big personality" and the "high-caliber character." As Dr. and Rev. Lowe struggled with the horrible reality of his passing, they knew they wanted to do something to keep his memory alive. "He died so young that he didn't have a chance to establish any kind of legacy, and we wanted to provide that," describes Dr. Lowe. "We wanted some sort of ongoing tribute to remember him and let people know that he was here. It just made sense to create the scholarship as a way to honor him and to help others. That’s what Cal was all about."
Remembering that terrible loss still causes his parents to choke up, and it is obvious the pain will never subside, but meeting the YCP students who benefit from Cal’s scholarship seems to help, at least in a small way. "Knowing that students at the College — a place that was such an important part of Cal's life — are better off because of the scholarship is fitting because he always cared so much for everyone he met," explains Rev. Lowe. "It is wonderful to see the smiling faces of the recipients, and to know that Cal is still making a difference."
"Establishing the scholarship was the right decision," according to Dr. Lowe, "and we feel really good about it. It has been a positive thing to help others in his name at the place he loved so much. The best part is it will live on as long as there is a York College."
The F. T. Aquilino Memorial Scholarship, the Susan Miller Honorary Scholarship and the Calvin Allen Lowe Memorial Leadership Award are just three of the more than 300 Named/Endowed awards and scholarships at York College, each one sending out ripples that make a real and profound difference in the lives of our students. Whether created to memorialize someone who has passed away or to honor someone while they are still alive, endowed funds create an ongoing legacy that lasts in perpetuity — and grows over time.
An endowment is a fund, held and managed by York College, in which only a portion of the interest earned is spent each year. This means that the principal continues to grow over time, continually increasing the amount of the distribution of the award or scholarship. Even better, the endowment will last for as long as there is a York College, honoring the individual in perpetuity.
Is there someone you would like to honor or memorialize with an endowed fund at York College? For more information about establishing an endowed honor or memorial award/scholarship or about making a gift in memory of Frank Aquilino or Calvin Lowe or in honor of Susan Miller, please contact the Advancement Divison at 717.815.1410.