May 23, 2013

46 Stewart’s Shops Scholarships Awarded – SUNY Empire State College Matches Funding for a total of $40,000 for 2012-13

Application Deadline for 2013-14 is June 7, 2013

Left to right: Northeast Center Dean Gerry Lorentz, students Russell Riddell, Agnes Zink, Cheryl Schiemer and Acting President Meg Benke at the center’s student recognition ceremony.

Left to right: Northeast Center Dean Gerry Lorentz, students Russell Riddell, Agnes Zink, Cheryl Schiemer and Acting President Meg Benke at the center’s student recognition ceremony.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – May 28, 2013)  Forty-six SUNY Empire State College students received a total of $40,000 in scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year, thanks to the generous support of Stewart’s Shops and the Empire State College Foundation.

"Empire State College has broken down so many barriers to higher education by creating access to busy students no matter their age or life circumstances,” said Susan Dake, president of Stewart’s Foundation. “We are happy to be a small part of their mission."

The Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship program was created to support students who have graduated from one of the 14 SUNY community colleges located in the Stewart’s Shops’ service area. The $1,000 scholarship is for one academic year and half the total amount is awarded each semester.

In 2012, Stewart’s Shops renewed a three-year scholarship commitment and increased its gift to $60,000, $20,000 dollars each year for three years, and the college foundation is matching this gift.

“The generous and continuing scholarship program by Stewart’s Shops is another example of their commitment to the community and we are very grateful for their support,” said Hugh B. Hammett, vice president of the college’s Office of External Affairs. “We know the scholarship recipients are well educated and very likely to complete their bachelor’s degree at Empire State College, thanks to the high-quality education they have earned at their SUNY community college.”

The scholarship program was first established in 2007 with an annual gift of $14,000 per year and that continued through 2011. The college foundation provided matching funds.

When the current pledge is completed in 2015, this program will have provided almost a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship funding.

Eligible students are invited to apply online at The application deadline for next year is June 7.

“I was honored to be selected to receive a Stewart’s Shops scholarship,” said Russell G. Riddell, a single father of a 16-year-old son and a graduate of SUNY Adirondack. “Even though I had earned my associate degree and had made the dean’s list four times, I found that many employers insisted that candidates have a bachelor’s. I had to have that credential to get better position. As a professional freelance photographer, I chose Empire State College because I was able to create a program that fit both my artistic interests and my career goals.”

“As a child I was inspired to learn American Sign Language when a deaf girl joined my class,” said Cheryl A. Schiemer of Amsterdam, a married mother of three and a 1992 graduate of Fulton-Montgomery Community College. “Today I have an advanced training certificate in ASL, but the role of the interpreter is changing. Even though I would be grandfathered in, a bachelor’s degree is now required to be able to sit for the national Registry for Interpreters exam. With my work and family commitments, earning a bachelor’s degree wasn’t realistic until I found Empire State College, but money was still an issue. Now, with the scholarship from Stewart’s Shops and the college, I can manage tuition without taking anything away from my children.”

“Just three days before getting my letter, I was ready to give up,” said Agnes E. Zink, of Troy. “My father was born in the 1800s and could only go to seventh grade. My mother had to leave school during her freshman year and my bachelor’s degree has been 40 years in the making. I want to be an example for my wonderful grandchildren so they can see the importance and value of education. I am very grateful to Stewart’s Shops and Empire State College for helping me to complete my degree.”

Graduates from the 14 SUNY community colleges listed below are eligible to apply for this scholarship program. These community colleges comprise nearly half of the 30 SUNY community colleges located throughout New York.

Community colleges in the Capital Region include SUNY Adirondack, Hudson Valley Community College and Schenectady County Community College

In the North Country, eligible community colleges are Clinton Community College, Jefferson Community College and North Country Community College

In the Mohawk Valley, participating community colleges are Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Herkimer County Community College and Mohawk Valley Community College.

In the Hudson Valley, eligible institutions include Columbia-Greene Community College, Dutchess Community College, SUNY Orange, Sullivan County Community College and SUNY Ulster

Eligible students are invited to apply online at

For more information on Stewart’s Shops, go to

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 66,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after 5 p.m. and weekends)