This month, Hobart and William Smith Colleges announced that Stuart S. Piltch ’82, P’11, a past trustee of the Colleges, has pledged to fund a third endowed scholarship in honor of HWS staff members who transformed his life. The Piltch Family Endowed Scholarship Fund in Honor of Saga Employees will support qualifying Hobart and William Smith students from Geneva.
The gift is designated to Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA), a community-driven organization that for 50 years has provided endowed scholarship support for students from Geneva to pursue higher education at HWS.
Announced during the annual GSA celebration on June 10, the scholarship fund, Piltch says, reflects not only his appreciation for the relationships he developed with the dining services staff as a student worker in Saga, but his desire to ensure that an HWS education is accessible and affordable for working people.
“Geneva is where I found myself,” says Piltch. “It’s where I started to mold into an adult, and these people made that happen. Town and gown relationships are something people talk a lot about. Those relationships are built one-on-one, and when you work next to someone at 7 a.m. over a hot grill, you get to know each other.”
Speaking at the GSA celebration, Piltch recalled how the Saga staff welcomed him as a 17-year-old to HWS and Geneva and how the bonds they forged during his time as a student have shaped his life since. He thanked former Saga director Pat Heieck P’88, L.H.D. ’10, who was in attendance, as well as several current Sodexo employees, including Shar Struzyk, whom Piltch also worked with at Saga.
“We were family,” he says. “These are people who invited me over for dinner, good people, with an inherent sense of decency and right and wrong, who give you their time and look out for you. We also had a lot of fun, and I want these kids to have the opportunities I was given.”
Noting the rising cost of education, he says that HWS “is too good a place, and these are too good a group of people for access not to be there.”
Piltch is the managing director and co-founder of Cambridge Advisory Group, an actuarial and benefits consulting firm based in the Philadelphia-area representing more than 60 Fortune 500 clients, as well as government agencies and mid-sized and small businesses.
In 2008, Piltch established The Dean Clarence E. Butler Endowed Scholarship Fund at HWS. That same year, GSA exceeded $1 million thanks to a record contribution from the Piltch family in honor of Bob Freeman, former Director of Financial Aid at the Colleges, and June W. Kuryla P’75, P’78, P’84, GP ’04, GP ’07, former Administrative Assistant in the Colleges’ Department of Financial Aid.
GSA was founded in 1968 when then HWS President Albert E. Holland partnered with local business owners to create a community-driven organization to provide endowed scholarship support for academically and financially deserving Geneva students to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Over the past 50 years, HWS alums, individuals and businesses from Geneva as well as other benefactors have donated toward an endowment now totaling more than $2 million, which generates numerous scholarships each and every year. In 2018, the GSA Board embarked on a campaign to raise $100,000 in honor of the GSA’s 50th anniversary. At this month’s celebration, GSA Board President Rob Sollenne P’15 announced that the campaign not only met the goal but exceeded it, raising $110,000 to add to the GSA endowment thanks to the generosity of many Geneva businesses, vendor partners of the Colleges and individuals.