Few people, if any, have had a longer and more enduring association with Fredonia than Charles "Chuck" Notaro. Soon after graduating from Fredonia High School in 1964, Chuck enrolled as a Psychology major, began working part time in the bookstore and never left the campus for the next 47 years until retiring as associate vice president and executive director of the Faculty Student Association.
But he's staying connected with the university in a truly meaningful way to benefit students.
In his nearly five decades of service, Chuck grew to appreciate how critically important scholarships and other forms of financial assistance are to students struggling to absorb higher education expenses that grow faster than the cost of living. It's hard to believe today, but Chuck remembers that bookstore paychecks — based on just $1.05 an hour - and a Regents Scholarship covered nearly four years' worth of tuition.
"It might have been $300 a semester," Chuck says of the tuition charges that he paid.
Gift Helps Fredonia Students
As a former executive director of FSA, which employs hundreds of students every year, Chuck knows that the financial challenges students are confronting today are far greater than anything he could have imagined. "Costs have escalated so much and I'm not sure financial assistance has kept up with those costs," he noted. Long gone is an era when a part-time job during the school year and summer employment are enough to pay for college.
That's why Chuck teamed up with the Fredonia College Foundation to create an endowment to support the new Charles M. Notaro Family Scholarship. Working with foundation staff, Chuck designed the scholarship to help finance the education of graduates from his high school alma mater.
"I felt very strongly that it would be nice to benefit an individual that was from Fredonia High School," he explains.
The scholarship will help a Fredonia student, regardless of his or her area of study, and will be based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and financial need. Chuck is eagerly anticipating the selection of the first Notaro Family Scholarship recipient for 2014-2015. He's thankful to colleagues who contributed to the building of his fund at the retirement celebration held in his honor.
Extending His Support
In addition to beginning to fund scholarships in the near term, Chuck - known for his passion, attention to detail and strong people skills - has taken an extra step to help future students by designating the Fredonia College Foundation as a beneficiary of his retirement fund. That way he's charted a course to continue his support of Fredonia while also ensuring that the Charles M. Notaro Family Scholarship will assist generations of graduates in Chuck's hometown.
Through his endowment, Chuck is adding to the strong financial support that alumni extend to the university. "Private schools have very, very large endowments. I think Fredonia, as a public institution, has done very well raising scholarship funds."
And Chuck is helping to make sure that continues at Fredonia, where financial gifts of any size really do make a difference in the lives of our students.
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