Retirement Celebration Led to the Launch of the Nan Guptill Crain Scholarship Fund

Nan Guptill Crain (center) with colleagues Carol Skarimbas (left) and Karen Smith Emerson (right)

When Nan Guptill Crain, professor of music at William Paterson for 48 years, retired in May 2017, she planned a party that would bring together current and former students, faculty and colleagues.

Beyond just a party, she wanted to do something positive and launched the Nan Guptill Crain Scholarship Fund for music students. Guptill Crain promised to match total contributions from alumni, colleagues, family and friends. Her effort resulted in realizing her dream of creating a $25,000 endowed scholarship for music students that will live on in her name in perpetuity, with additional funds that enables it to be awarded immediately.

“I think it’s a lovely gift to be able to give to our music department and I believe very strongly in offering it to continuing students,” says Guptill Crain.

Since 2010, the University’s donor scholarship distribution has increased 189 percent, from $414,000 to more than $1.2 million.

Guptill Crain was delighted when five generations of former students, more than 100 people came together for her retirement party. “This community is such a resource of knowledge and experience, and it was terrific having all these people together, including many music alumni connecting with their former professors. There was a great exchange of energy and I love that.”

Meeting one former student who came from as far as London to be at the reception was a huge surprise, she adds. “She was a student from my very first year here in 1969. That made me very happy,” says Guptill Crain. “There were people there from every decade.”

Guptill Crain says she’s extremely grateful to have met so many wonderful people at William Paterson, especially students, over the years. “It’s been a really great ride,” she adds. “I have a little sign on my refrigerator that says, ‘Celebrate, invigorate, and exhilarate.’ I think that’s kind of where I am now.”