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Nov. 12, 2003


    OSWEGO -- A woman who came back to school at SUNY Oswego as a non-traditional student over 30 years ago will now help other non-trads to fulfill their dreams of a college education.
   M. Jean Pietroski graduated from Oswego in 1971 and went on to earn a master's in education in 1994. She has donated $20,000 to endow a scholarship in honor of her parents, Milton Hope Gillespie and Marjorie Lucy Roth Gillespie. It will be awarded to a non-traditional student majoring in education.

    "I had gone to Phoenix High School and had always loved math and dreamed of being a math teacher," she said. "But then I took a different fork in the road." She got married and raised a family.

    "When the marriage hadn't worked out, I went to college and became the math teacher I always wanted," she said. She ended up fulfilling her teen-age dream by becoming the math teacher at Phoenix.

    Pietroski hopes her gift will help others follow her path. "To me, there's nothing better than being a teacher, and it might inspire someone else to do the same thing," she said.

     Kevin Mahaney, vice president for development at SUNY Oswego, said, "Jean Pietroski's gift will make it possible for other adults to return to school and fulfill their dreams. Her generosity will have a direct impact on students for years to come."

    Pietroski's scholarship honors her parents. The Gillespies lived their adult lives in Phoenix and were strong advocates of the benefits of education. They actively participated in many projects for the Phoenix community.

    Marjorie Gillespie was active in the PTA, the Schroeppel Historical Society and the local senior citizens organization, of which she was a founder. She also was an editor of the local newspaper and was active in the Lionettes.

    Milton Gillespie was an active member of the Lions International, serving as a local president and governor of district 20-Y-1. He also was active in the Central New York Eye Bank, Media Temple, Scottish Rite and the Shrine Club. He served as a trustee and mayor of the village of Phoenix and a member and chair of the Schroeppel Planning Board.

    Pietroski's gift was inspired by her friend, Sid Stafford, who is retired from the University of Illinois. When his son, Tim, who returned to college as an adult to become a fourth-grade teacher, died during routine surgery, Sid endowed a scholarship at Illinois in Tim's name.

    "I don't have much, but I have more money than I need, and I think most people do," Pietroski said. "Even though you have other obligations, there's always room for helping others."   

    She answered a mailing from Oswego and was contacted by Barb Manwaring, associate director of development. "She was very helpful and receptive to my ideas and helpful in refining what I wanted," Pietroski said.

    For help in establishing a scholarship or for more information, call Manwaring at 312-3003.

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