Betsy Balzano Scholars Established from $619K Estate Gift

Betsy Balzano
The Betsy Balzano Scholars fund has been established to assist incoming first-year students in SUNY Brockport’s School of Education, Health, & Human Services defray expenses after Dr. Betsy Balzano left an estate gift of $619,000 to the Brockport Foundation.

The Betsy Balzano Scholars fund has been established to assist incoming first-year students in SUNY Brockport’s School of Education, Health, & Human Services defray expenses after Dr. Betsy Balzano left an estate gift of $619,000 to the Brockport Foundation.

The Betsy Balzano Scholars fund is an endowed gift that will provide recipients $2,000 per year (up to four years) for non-tuition educational expenses. It will be granted to a maximum of 12 students per year, with three eligible recipients selected annually. The award may cover expenses including room, board, or college fees.

“Betsy Balzano was a revered faculty member and champion for students interested in a career in teaching,” said SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson. “This gift will create critical four-year scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in education. We are so thankful to Betsy for remembering the College with this generous estate gift.”

Eligibility is reserved for first-year college students entering SUNY Brockport who intend to pursue an academic major in the School of Education, Health, & Human Services. Undergraduate programs in this school include Aging Studies; Education and Human Development; Healthcare Studies; Kinesiology, Sports Studies, and Physical Education; Nursing; Public Health and Health Education; Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation and Tourism; and Social Work.

Students also must meet academic parameters similar to the College’s Extraordinary Academic Scholarship, and demonstrate significant need for financial assistance. Recipients of other awarded scholarships or grants also will be eligible for the Betsy Balzano Scholars fund.

In addition to the endowed scholarship program, a small but significant portion of Dr. Balzano’s estate will be added to the Golden Eagle Opportunity Fund to support emergency needs of students.

“As a faculty member, Betsy established a legacy as a staunch advocate for students and the need for them to pursue a degree in higher education,” said Mike Andriatch, vice president for Advancement and president of the Brockport Foundation. “And she was a major proponent of supporting students from the Rochester City School District interested in getting a college degree. This program creates opportunities and opens doors for all such students. This gift enhances her legacy and creates a permanent endowment to support her philanthropic passions.”

Dr. Betsy Balzano’s Lasting Legacy

Dr. Betsy Balzano (1934-2020) was a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Education and Human Development at SUNY Brockport. Her 49 years of service to the College left an indelible mark on the campus community.

Dr. Balzano began her tenure at Brockport in 1971, teaching in the childhood teacher preparation undergraduate program as well as the childhood and adolescence science education graduate programs. Her role also included supervising student teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels.

As a faculty leader at Brockport, Dr. Balzano served as the Project Director for three funded programs: Brockport/Edison Early College High School, Teacher Leadership Quality Partnership, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education Partnership with Oswego. More than $3 million was awarded to the programs through grants to support students and teachers alike.

Throughout her career, Dr. Balzano took on many positions of leadership through various committees. She served as the chair of the department for six years, coordinator for the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education for 10 years, and chair of the Professional Education Unit Assessment committee, among others.

Additionally, Dr. Balzano was an international consultant in science education and teacher education for the United States Agency for International Development, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the World Bank in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. She was a major author of numerous studies, publications, and projects including a secondary teacher project in Indonesia.

An abundance of accolades and honors were bestowed on Dr. Balzano for her many outstanding contributions at Brockport. She received the Greater Metropolitan Rochester Chamber of Commerce Civic Education Award in 1991; the Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year Award in 1985; the Kodak 21st Century Learning Challenge Award in 1995; the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1973; the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Professor title in 1995; and Living the Legacy Award from the American Federation of Teachers in 2006.

As an avid supporter of numerous scholarships, Dr. Balzano took a leading role in encouraging a culture of philanthropy across the College. She was inducted into SUNY Brockport’s Donald M. Tower Society in honor of her philanthropic endeavors that greatly benefited the institution.

Dr. Balzano began her professional career as a high school teacher in Rhode Island and then Florida, after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Science from Rhode Island College. While teaching in Florida, she earned a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry and a Doctorate in Science Education from Florida State University.

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Author: Kevin Stiner


Posted: February 01, 2022