During their long careers at SUNY Oswego, Hugh and Grace Mowatt Burritt helped thousands of students reach their full potential. It’s only fitting that as emeriti they extend their reach in perpetuity by establishing an endowed scholarship to help students in their areas of expertise.
The Hugh and Grace Mowatt Burritt Scholarship will go to a student who is a member of a music performance organization on campus or to a wellness management major, a health science minor or an athlete who participates in team, club or intramural sports.
“This is our legacy to the college,” they said. “We felt that it’s so hard for students nowadays.” They intend to increase the endowed fund each year, so that the awards for students can grow.
Grace Mowatt Burritt began her career at Oswego in 1963 and retired in 1993. She was first hired for all physical education and as the synchronized swimming club adviser.
In the 1970s when women’s sports became more prominent under Title IX, she took over as the women’s swimming and diving coach. “Then most of my teaching went into water activities: aerobics, lifeguarding and water training instructors,” she said.
Hugh Burritt began at Oswego in 1968 and retired in 1989. He was brought into the music department as a brass teacher and to start a jazz studies program.
He founded a jazz band which became known as Solid State and introduced new courses like “The History of Jazz and Rock,” while also teaching jazz band arranging and improvisation.
He chaired the department for six years from 1983 to 1989.
Both Burritts served on the Public Ceremonies Committee for many years, helping to plan and work at college events like the Honors Convocation and Commencement.
Hugh was responsible for bringing music into the graduation ceremonies, instituting the ceremonial trumpet fanfare, which opens and closes Torchlight and Commencement.
Grace hosted the yearly critique
in which committee members planned how to make the ceremonies better.
As emeriti, the Burritts are still active in the life of the campus community, attending concerts and sporting events, especially hockey games at the new Campus Center. They have a special bond with that program, since Hugh coached Ed Gosek ’83, M ’01 when the Oswego State men’s ice hockey head coach first laced on skates in Oswego Minor Hockey.
The Burritts keep in touch with many former students and expressed the hope that their scholarships will make life a little bit easier for future students especially in today’s difficult economy, and serve as a means of encouraging or recruiting students in their fields to attend Oswego.