Family Establishes Scholarship to Honor Tom Lenihan ’76

A four-year scholarship enabling a deserving Oswego student to stay in school and concentrate on academics has been established in memory of Tom Lenihan ’76, former board member and chair of the Oswego College Foundation Investment Committee. His wife, Lynn Van Order Lenihan ’76, and children, Brian, a digital media strategist in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Colleen, director of a federally funded program for the New Jersey State Department of Education, decided to honor him in this way.

Tom ’76 and Lynn Van Order Lenihan ’76

Tom ’76 and Lynn Van Order Lenihan ’76

The Tom Lenihan ’76 Memorial Scholarship will be awarded for the first time beginning in fall 2014 to a freshman with an excellent academic record and significant extracurricular involvement during high school. “Tom felt very strongly that education was important,” Lynn says. “He believed Oswego changed our lives for the better. That’s why the children and I wanted to do something to recognize his commitment to the college.”

One of six children, including Theresa ’79, Tom achieved high academic success in high school and had private university options. He chose, instead, to apply his New York State Regents Scholarship to expenses at SUNY Oswego and worked to meet other costs of earning his four-year degree in economics.

“Tom never complained about his need to work hard to get a college education,” Lynn says. “He was proud of his roots, and the fact that he had overcome financial challenges was a major factor in his desire to give back to Oswego, especially to the scholarship funds.”

Lynn says her husband was a
devoted member of the Oswego College Foundation Investment Committee. “Tom worked so hard to get the message out to people that students need financial support in order to focus on their classwork and do their best academically,”
she says.

Lynn and Tom met early in their freshman year at Oswego through Tom’s roommate, who had been Lynn’s classmate at Skaneateles High School. Tom had a successful career as an executive for MetLife before retirement in 2009; he died in 2013.

“We have been very fortunate,” Lynn says. “When Brian, Colleen and I talked about Tom and what his wishes might have been, we decided to help in this way. He would have been pleased to have this scholarship be part of his legacy at Oswego.”

—Linda Loomis ’90 M’97

 

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