Alumna Barbara “Bobbi” Butler Burnham, class of 1946, is hoping that her recent gift to the SUNY Canton Foundation helps to show others the importance of giving during a troubled economy.
Burnham has made a donation of more than $100,000 to the Foundation to directly help current and future students defray the costs of attending college.
“When the economy spirals downward, students are among those that are impacted the most,” said Burnham. “That’s why it’s so important to give now and make sure that qualified, hard-working students are able to pursue their dreams and aspirations.”
The rising costs of education combined with massive SUNY budget cuts from New York State have magnified the problem dramatically for colleges around the nation. More and more banks are also shutting down their student loan divisions.
Nationwide, student loan requests are up 16 percent from last year, but fewer loans are available. It’s the latest example of how the Wall Street crisis is hurting many of those who are the farthest removed from New York’s financial district.
“Instead of giving my money to the government in taxes and letting them decide where to invest it, I’ve decided where to invest it myself,” said Burnham. “The future and the well-being of our country depends on the education of our young people. And it’s even more rewarding and personal when you get the opportunity to directly meet the people you’re helping.”
Burnham is a native of Watertown. She graduated from ATI (Agricultural and Technical Institute at Canton) in 1946 and was a Home Economics and Food major. She is a Pi Nu Epsilon sister and was Vice President during her senior year. She met her husband Bob Burnham while she was attending ATI.
She is a retired teacher and realtor. Since retiring she has split her time between homes in Massena and Sun City, Arizona. Her husband passed away in 1988. Through the years, the Burnhams assisted several students with their college education demonstrating their personal commitment to higher education.
Burnham’s longtime companion Richard Randol assisted with the establishment of the Bobbi Butler Burnham endowed scholarship. Mr. Randol shares Mrs. Burnham’s commitment to making higher education possible for SUNY Canton students.
In establishing her scholarship, Mrs. Burnham recalled her appreciation for her education and remembers fondly her time at the “Aggie School”.
“Bobbi and Richard continue to dramatically impact the lives of current and future students,” said Vice President for Advancement David M. Gerlach ‘83. “This gift is very timely given the nature of the economy and the need for increased support for scholarships.”
SUNY Canton offers a wide variety of career-driven bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs, as well as three master’s degrees in conjunction with SUNYIT, Utica. Most of SUNY Canton’s new four-year programs are designed so students can take them on-campus, online, or both. SUNY Canton OnLine features more than 100 courses online each semester. The college’s athletic teams belong to the NAIA’s Sunrise Conference, enabling students to compete in their respective sports for four years.
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