Office of Public Affairs
(315) 312-2265
Aug. 28, 2002
CONTACT: Kevin Mahaney, 312-5558
OSWEGO -- Generations of SUNY Oswego students will benefit from the largest gift to the Oswego College Foundation in its history, a bequest from the late emeritus Professor Girgis B. Ghobrial.
The foundation has already received more that $800,0000 of a bequest that will exceed $1 million, including real property, said Vice President for Development and Public Affairs Kevin Mahaney.
"Dr. Ghobrial was among our most generous donors in supporting student scholarships during his lifetime," Mahaney said. "We are deeply grateful to him for permanently endowing these scholarships through this enormously generous bequest."
The bequest will establish the Girgis B. Ghobrial Scholarship Fund. Incomes from this permanent endowment will provide scholarship support for students attending SUNY Oswego. Ghobrial's will stated that four of the scholarships awarded each year are to be in memory of his parents, Bakhoum and L. Zahia Sorial Ghobrial.
"This is a transformational gift for the college," President Deborah F. Stanley said. "It dramatically increases our endowment for scholarship support."
Ghobrial passed away in June 2001. The former chair of the college's geography department spent 41 years of his life in Oswego, 32 of them teaching generations of Oswego students, Stanley said.
"He was a valued member of the SUNY Oswego family and, obviously, we were an important part of his life as well," Stanley said. "For an individual to bequeath nearly his or her entire estate for the benefit of our students is a remarkable act of love and generosity."
During his lifetime, Ghobrial funded numerous annual scholarships across many departments, always doing so in memory or honor of his parents, fellow faculty members and other individuals who played an important role in his life.
He loved to meet students and to hear their stories, and took great joy in helping them realize their dreams of an education, Mahaney said. After his retirement in 1992, Ghobrial remained active with the college and attended many events.
In an interview with Oswego's alumni magazine, Ghobrial recalled how his special relationship with students was underlined when the blizzard of 1964 crippled the city. He said students shoveled his driveway, and three girls who lived nearby baked and delivered a cherry pie for him.
"Their kindness reminded me that people in this country are very generous, very good," the Egyptian native recalled.
That kindness, Mahaney said, has been returned to the college many times over by this gift.
The previous single largest gift to the college came when the late Stephen Coco, a 1966 alumnus, left $166,542 to form the Stephen and Ann Coco Scholarship Fund in 2001.
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