Annual Scholarship Dinner Brings Together Scholarship Donors and Recipients

Left to right: Henrietta Pesce ’72, MA ’75, with scholarship recipients Zachary Merring, Kassandra Vargas, Ashly Roy, Maria Barraza, and Mirella Arias Rios, and William Pesce ‘73

Left to right: Mary Kennedy MS ’84, Mary Moynihan ’19, and Eileen Fasanella, clinic director, Speech and Hearing Clinic

Students had the opportunity to meet their scholarship donors and offer touching remarks of gratitude at the 21st annual Scholarship Dinner held on November 12, 2019. 

More than  300 scholarship recipients, donors and their guests, and members of the William Paterson community gathered for the event held on campus.

Highlighting the evening were donor and student reflections by President Richard J. Helldobler, William Pesce ’73, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, and his wife, Henrietta Schlief Pesce ’72, MA ’75, Mary Kennedy, MS ’84, scholarship donor, and student recipients Joel Jimenez, Mirella Arias Rios, Kassandra Vargas, Mary Moynihan, Michele Boyle, and Kyle Quigley.

William Pesce shared his own inspiring story about being the first in his family to attend college, and the humble beginnings that shaped him as a person and leader. “William Paterson has had a profound influence on my life and for that I will be eternally grateful,“ he said. His wife, Henrietta, shared her own journey and told the scholarship recipients, “I know it’s one step at a time, but if you make the effort, you will succeed. Tonight we honor successes, we congratulate you.” The couple, longtime donors and founders of the Pesce Family Mentoring Institute, were photographed with their five scholarship recipients.

“At a time when reasons for optimism can sometimes seem hard to come by, supporting scholarships is one of the most hopeful things we can do. It is an investment in our students, our University, and in our collective future. The most important investment we can make is in another human being,” said President Richard J. Helldobler.

“When I received the email stating I had been awarded the Mary Kennedy Endowed Scholarship, I was instantly humbled and relieved,” said student keynote speaker Mary Moynihan. “Some of the financial burden had been lifted from my shoulders and I could focus on everything I am and everything that I want to become, instead of worrying about paying for school.” Moynihan had the opportunity to dine with her donors, Mary and William Kennedy, and said the scholarship is allowing her to become a future speech language pathologist.