The Journey of a Gift
november 29, 2007

Fr. Gartland
Fr. Gartland prompted a Stonehill Giving Circle.

Giving to Stonehill is kind of like that movie, “Pay it Forward.” Someone helps you when you need it. Then one day, years later, you get the chance to help someone else. 

You may not have even realized you were part of this “Stonehill Giving Circle,” but if you’ve donated to Stonehill—or you once received a scholarship—you are. “One person’s generosity makes another person’s life better,” said Director of Development Doug Smith.

Take this story:

In 1983, John K. Fitzgerald ’87 needed financial help.

Both his parents had died and the incoming freshman had his heart set on attending Stonehill.

He later got the help he needed from an alumnus he never knew when he received the Rev. William F. Gartland, C.S.C. Memorial Scholarship, which was started by Paul Flynn ’57, because Fr. Gartland had made such an impression on him

.In 2002, when Fitzgerald passed away, his friends and family started the John Kennedy Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship.

Some 20 years after Fitzgerald sat through his last class in Duffy Academic Hall, Vanusa Gomes ’08 became the recipient of the John Kennedy Fitzgerald Scholarship.

“My mother has been unemployed for over seven years due to a surgery so I have to pay for my own schooling,” said the 21-year-old from Dorchester.

Born in Cape Verde, Vanusa is the second of her nine siblings to attend college. The criminology major and sociology minor will graduate in May, and has plans to eventually attend either law or graduate school and to someday work with juvenile criminal offenders.

Vanusa Gomes '08
Vanusa Gomes '08, newest member of Giving Circle.

But Vanusa said if she hadn’t received the scholarship, she would not be a Stonehill student today.

Smith said, “The point is this: the journey of a gift never ends. It’s carried by its recipient to its next destination. The point of supporting Stonehill is supporting what meant most to you.

”He said most people don’t realize the cost of tuition only covers 89 percent of the actual cost of a Stonehill education—donations help make up the last 11 percent.

He also acknowledged that many young alumni, who are just starting out in the “Real World,” may feel the $10 or $20 check they could afford to give would just be pointless.

Not at all.

“Over the course of time, many small gifts from one donor amount to one very generous gift,” Smith said.

He said gifts built the MacPhaidin Library, are helping to build the new state-of-the-art Science Center, and make many scholarships possible.

Paul Flynn '57
Paul Flynn '57, expanded the Giving Circle with scholarship.

One such gift is the Aline T. and Paul B. Flynn Scholarship, awarded to journalism students.

Flynn ’57, a former Summit reporter, worked at The Patriot Ledger in Quincy in his college days. He went on to become the publisher of three community newspapers and the president of USA Today.

 “We established (the scholarship) in 2005 with a small amount, but it will become bigger upon our deaths,” said Flynn, now 72, and living in Fort Myers, Fla. With his wife; he also started the Gartland Scholarship that helped Fitzgerald.

“As alumni, we need to provide a complete education for future generations, especially to provide opportunities to attend such a wonderful college,” said Flynn.

“I know how tough it was to work at The Patriot Ledger to pay for college, to have to hitchhike from Quincy to Easton, to carry your lunch and not live ‘in town’—there were no dorms then. Hopefully our scholarship will make it easier for students to avoid all of that.

”Flynn had no way of knowing when he started the Gartland Scholarship in the 1980s that it would help Fitzgerald—and that he in turn would help Vanusa.

“These gifts are almost like a thank you,” Smith said.

“We can’t help but wonder: Twenty years from now, whose dream will Vanusa make possible?”

Lauren Daly ’05 is a living arts writer in New Bedford and a freelance writer for Stonehill College.

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