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Sept. 25, 2002
OSWEGO -- Virginia Hafner Lyon was thankful for the well-rounded education she received at SUNY Oswego. So when she and her husband, Floyd Lyon, wanted to give a gift to the college, they settled on a nice, round number: $100,000.
She is a member of the Oswego College Foundation board of directors, and the couple knows an endowment is important for the college's future.
"You always think the state is supporting the college, and they are, but to a degree," she said. "An endowment fund is necessary. This is the backbone of the school."
A 1948 graduate in education, she said her years at Oswego "set you out for the world and opened your eyes to many things."
For example, "Isabelle Hart [for whom Hart Hall is named] taught us general science and geography, and I remember she took us on a field trip to the drumlins outside of Syracuse, and we climbed up and saw the fossils," she said. "I remember these things and tell my grandchildren about them. It was a wonderful experience."
The Lyons made their gift an unrestricted one, which means that they have placed no restrictions on how income from the endowment is spent. "I trust whoever's in charge to make the best use of it," she said.
The couple said they believe strongly in philanthropy. In fact, they met while working on the development committee for the Friends Academy, a Quaker school their children attended. After they each were widowed, they found they had a lot in common, wed, and have been married for 15 years.
Floyd Lyon, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked on developing the Sperry gyroscope in World War II, led record-breaking reunion giving drives for his 40th, 50th and 60th reunions from MIT.
"Both Virginia and Floyd have been loyal supporters of Oswego for many years," said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. "They have a tremendous understanding of philanthropy and the important role it must play in advancing public higher education."
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