Dec. 21, 2011

Shaping Lives of Purpose: Belief in Geneseo inspires faculty, staff and emeriti contributions

Sturges Hall motion

Students and faculty members walk outside of Sturges Hall during a warm fall day. Faculty, staff and emeriti play a vital role in Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo, which will ensure current and future students have the same outstanding opportunities. Faculty, staff and emeriti who have donated to the campaign say their belief in the power of a Geneseo education, and need, inspired them to give. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11


Each day at Geneseo, faculty and staff provide an environment in which students feel safe and free to challenge themselves, to think in new ways, and to believe they can make a difference.
Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo will bolster Geneseo's endowment and strengthen programs that ensure current and future students have the same opportunities. Launched officially on campus in September, gifts from faculty, staff and emeriti are vital to the campaign's success. Meet three of many contributors have made a difference:

  • Eleanor Pfunter, a 14-year staff member, takes pride in being part of the Geneseo community and ensuring the buildings she works in as a custodial service expert are immaculate for those who utilize the space. She has worked in Erwin and several academic buildings on campus and is now in the Myrtle A. Merritt Athletic Center.

    She began giving back to Geneseo several years ago with a $2 per pay period gift. She says the gratitude she received for her contribution from a colleague in College Advancement made her realize that even a small deduction from her payroll adds up to help a student. Pfunter does not designate her gift. She says she wants the college to use the money where it's most needed and necessary.
  • Susan Bailey dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to Geneseo in various roles, including lecturer, coordinator of student employment services, assistant and associate dean and finally as dean of the college from 2003 to 2008.

    She says she and her late husband, Randy Bailey, believe in the power of a Geneseo education. Their contributions help with student scholarships or support areas in which they worked closely, such as history, black studies and women's studies.

    "Geneseo is doing important work in facilitating access to exceptionally high quality public higher education," she says. "It deserves the enthusiastic support of its faculty and staff. In the face of diminishing state commitment to this access, anything we can do as individuals is increasingly critical."
  • Professor of Accounting Harry Howe values what Geneseo's liberal arts education fosters in students - rigorous technical training and the ability to think in broad and creative ways. Inspired by the leadership of colleagues, alumni and others, Howe wanted to support Geneseo with a campaign gift, which was announced at the campus launch in September. Howe designated his contribution to the accounting program, summer humanities programs and the philosophy department.

    "I don't think there are many people who look at Geneseo as just a job," Howe has said. "It's an institution that has a special mission — education that is both accessible and excellent. I can think of hundreds of great examples all over this campus of people who put forth an extraordinary effort to make this place better and better."