Kevin Stiner | November 02, 2021
Brockport Expands Global Opportunities Behind $300K Gift from Steve Lewine ’80
SUNY Brockport is expanding its global presence with a $300,000 gift from Steve Lewine ’80 that will support the development of student leadership and innovation through international experience.
The Lewine Global Engagement Fund will be divided between a Global Business Leadership Program, Global Education and Engagement Scholarships, and Outstanding Global Engagement Faculty and Staff Awards. The funding adds to more than a dozen study abroad scholarships presently available and will assist both outbound students as well as international students attending Brockport.
“This is the largest single living donor gift and largest faculty recognition award in the history of Brockport.”
“Like many of our students, Steve Lewine was the first of his family to go to college,” shared SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson at a College Senate meeting. “Brockport is an institution of many opportunities and an alum like Steve reminds me that we always have been an institution of opportunity. I want to thank Steve for this incredibly generous gift. This is the largest single living donor gift and largest faculty recognition award in the history of Brockport.”
Global Business Leadership Program
The Global Business Leadership Program will receive funding to provide students a short-term study abroad program with a service-learning component. In addition to earning credits and gaining a new cultural experience, students will also learn the importance of corporate social responsibility and global citizenship. The program is scheduled to begin during the 2022-23 academic year in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Global Education & Engagement Scholarships
Global Education and Engagement Scholarships will support students on multiple fronts. Scholarships will assist Brockport students studying abroad and international students studying on campus. The scholarships will encourage exploration for those that may not have the means to travel internationally, and it will increase Brockport’s multicultural diversity.
The funds can be used to help students cover costs related to program fees, transportation, housing, meals, or other in-country expenses.
“We want to encourage any Brockport student to study abroad,” said Lindsay Crane, Director of Global Education and Engagement. “That’s why having this scholarship is so important because it can open more doors for our students.”
Outstanding Global Engagement Faculty & Staff Awards
The final area of the fund will focus on Outstanding Global Engagement Faculty and Staff Awards. The awards are in honor of Victor Rojas and in memory of Francisco Zayas, two former Brockport faculty members that greatly influenced Lewine. The awards are designed to encourage and recognize outstanding faculty and professional staff who advance internationalization efforts at Brockport. Faculty and staff will be able to apply for funding to support an activity or program that helps advance internationalization efforts in teaching and learning.
Lewine Returns to SUNY Brockport
It had been more than four decades since Lewine last set foot on campus, before he returned to make his pledge official. The Brockport graduate who double majored in International Business and Spanish met with current Brockport students, faculty and administration to offer encouragement, his vision for the funding and appreciation.
“Mark my words, that international education will change your life,” said Lewine, now a senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley. “Nobody comes back the same person. Some people grow a little, and some people grow a lot, but nobody has an experience like that and comes back the same.”
Lewine expressed that service above self is an important piece of his life and will be a critical piece of the funding. Whether studying abroad in Cuernavaca or Montreal as a student at Brockport, contributing to the Rotary Club, or leading trips to build classrooms in Central America, Lewine is consistently involved with the communities where his travels take him.
“It’s one thing to give money to something, but it’s another thing when you’re able to work side by side with the people you’re helping. I want us (Global Business Leadership Program) to be really engaged with the community and have them tell us what they really need,” said Lewine, who has worked in international banking for more than two decades and the wealth management business for 17 years. “I’m hopeful we find opportunities like that. No matter where the program leads, whether that be Africa, Indonesia, Latin America, or wherever it may be, because it is a transformative experience.”
While on campus, Lewine shared several stories about students becoming ambassadors that positively shape the perceptions of American culture outside of the United States. In one story, the mayor of a town in Nicaragua expressed sincere gratitude for the transformation of his perception of Americans.
The mayor remembered times of war from his childhood and hiding under classroom desks out of fear from bombings when he heard airplanes overhead. He felt incredible impact from the generous nature of the group coming together to not only help build classrooms, but to help rebuild his community’s perception of Americans.
Lewine’s worldview began at Brockport as he ventured beyond the United States’ borders. He first learned the importance of considering himself, a student abroad, as an ambassador for his home country while in Cuernavaca and Montreal. Lewine credits Zayas for ingraining an ambassador mindset and Rojas for making it come alive on Brockport’s study abroad trips.
“There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that states, ‘if you get pointed in the right direction all you need to do is put one foot in front of the other.’ In my life I got pointed in the right direction at SUNY Brockport.”