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Alumni Impact

Though Jerry ’68 and Carolyn Zwaga (Hon. ’18) live over 1,300 miles away from SUNY Potsdam in sunny Florida, their connection to the College is stronger now than ever. In response to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on Potsdam students, the couple chose to alter their giving to support students’ immediate needs.

“Once Carolyn and I realized there were students unable to return to their home base during the crisis, we thought there had to be something we could do to make their stay at Potsdam a little easier,” Jerry shared.

Jerry ’68 and Carolyn Zwaga (Hon. ’18) with their scholarship recipient, Karla Reyes Ruiz ’20.

In addition to their annual gift to the Jerry & Carolyn Zwaga Study Abroad Endowment, the couple chose to contribute to the Student Care Fund, one of the College’s giving priorities during the global crisis. The College uses this fund to provide support to students in need of resources to deal with one-time emergencies, from paying for a month’s rent to buying essential groceries.

“When we learned of the opportunity to contribute to the Student Care Fund, there was no question,” Jerry explained. “We can’t imagine being sequestered during the pandemic away from loved ones and home.  We have always had great faith in Potsdam’s ability to use any contribution wisely. So if we couldn’t be in Potsdam, what better way to support students than to give to this fund?”

Through the years, Jerry and Carolyn have enjoyed connecting with SUNY Potsdam students who receive funding through their study abroad endowment. They hope that their continued investment in the Potsdam family allows students to look back on their memories from SUNY Potsdam with fondness as they continue on their paths to success.

To learn how you can support students impacted by COVID-19, visit potsdam.edu/giving.