Donor Stories

Stacy Lyle photo.

Stacy Lyle photo.

To Last a Lifetime

For Nancy Blakney Gravina ’82, it began with a campus tour and Frisbee on the Mary Lyon lawn. “In my college search I had been told, ‘You’ll know it when you see it.’ That moment in front of Mary Lyon cemented Plymouth State for me and ultimately made me who I am today.”

For Tom Gravina ’81, it was in the lobby of Belknap Hall. “I remember it as if was yesterday. Nancy and I were introduced by a mutual friend and we’ve been together ever since.”

What lasts a lifetime? Lessons learned from teammates. Strong friendships. Memories of tubing the Pemi. The feeling that comes from making a difference in the lives of others.

The Gravinas recently made a pledge to support PSU’s new ALLWell North academic and athletic complex. The couple notes, “We hope our gift will inspire other alumni to give back and that more students will choose PSU for the experience of a lifetime.”

To learn how you can support academic and athletic programming in ALLWell North, contact John Scheinman at jscheinman@plymouth.edu or (603) 535-2805.

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Honoring the Past with a Gift for the Future

Together, Kappa brothers celebrate the good times and help each other in times of need.
“The friendships with Brothers of Kappa have stayed with me and so many others for all these years,” says Dana Nelson ’69, one of the fraternity’s founding brothers. “This relationship will stay with us the rest of our lives.”

To honor KDP’s 50th anniversary on campus and its enduring impact on their lives, the brothers, led by Nelson and Robert “Skip” Whitmore ’69, have established the Kappa Delta Phi, Sigma Chapter Scholarship through the Fund for Plymouth State. Each year, this scholarship will help make possible a transformational educational experience and a promising future for a deserving Plymouth State student. Creating the scholarship is a fitting way to honor both the fraternity, which has been dedicated to service since its inception, and the University, says Nelson. “PSU is what brought us together and PSU has given us what we needed for our careers, and our lives.”

To learn how you can support the Kappa Delta Phi, Sigma Chapter Scholarship, contact John Scheinman at (603) 535-2805.

Back Row: John Farnam (Community Investment Liaison, Morgridge Family Foundation), John Morgridge ’85, Carrie Morgridge, Sam Wisel ’12, ’16G, Matt LeBlanc ’16. Front Row: Sophia Paglierani ’17, Anna Brown ’16, Courtney Bracken ’16, Savannah Fitzpatrick ’12, Elizabeth Thagouras ’17. Kaleb Hart ’11 photo.

Back Row: John Farnam (Community Investment Liaison, Morgridge Family Foundation), John Morgridge ’85, Carrie Morgridge, Sam Wisel ’12, ’16G, Matt LeBlanc ’16. Front Row: Sophia Paglierani ’17, Anna Brown ’16, Courtney Bracken ’16, Savannah Fitzpatrick ’12, Elizabeth Thagouras ’17.
Kaleb Hart ’11 photo.

The Morgridges and alumni and student members of the Student Support Foundation.

Friends and benefactors like John Morgridge ’85 and his wife Carrie are inspiring donors to emerge from the background and get into the clubs and classrooms of causes they support. As John says, “We encourage people to find their passion because fulfillment is what motivates you to give more. We need that reinforcement for our heart and our soul.”

In 2005, the Morgridges formed a PSU chapter of their youth philanthropy club, the Student Support Foundation (SSF). The SSF’s mission is to keep students in school through short-term emergency assistance (such as clothing for internships or funds for textbooks) and long-term student support (such as funding to start a program that is not part of the normal operating budget), and to create a culture of philanthropy in the campus community.

As for John and Carrie, nothing makes them happier than to be part of this circle of giving. “We feel very fortunate to give PSU students an opportunity to support their community, an opportunity they might not have known they had,” John says. “Students feel the same way we do when we’re philanthropic: It feels like you’re making a difference as a human in this world.”

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Carleton Parish ’71 and Sharon, his beloved wife of 35 years.

When Sharon Parish tragically died in an automobile accident in February 2011, Carleton Parish ’71 of Spotsylvania, Virginia, lost his beloved wife and best friend of 35 years. When considering a personal memorial, Parish turned to Plymouth State and established the Sharon Rebecca Parish Memorial Scholarship in Business.

“I chose Plymouth State because her two alma maters don’t need it like students at Plymouth do,” he said. “Sharon came from a humble background in Appalachia and went to college at night while working. I struggled financially as a student, too,” he said, recalling his college years, funded in part by the GI Bill after a four-year stint in the US Navy.

Parish supports PSU because he wants every student to be shaped and molded by a caring community. “Plymouth’s caring and understanding faculty taught me life’s most valuable lessons,” he explained. “Things like perseverance, working through a problem from more than one angle, how to be diplomatic, respectful, and courteous—Plymouth made me a gentleman.”