Alumni Fund Scholarships for Students

Generous donors and former Jaspers are helping Manhattan College students fund their education and achieve their goals.

It’s no secret that a college education is becoming more expensive and that this expense is becoming a bigger part of a family’s budget than ever before. Although state and federal governments have programs that offset the cost to help make education more affordable, often they aren’t enough.

“Scholarships help Manhattan College assist families in bridging the gap between financial aid and family affordability,” says Mary Ellen Malone, director of planned giving. “Scholarships also help to reduce the amount of indebtedness graduates build up over their four years.” 

What’s more, scholarships can be tailored to promote donor-specific priorities. For instance, the James Patterson Scholarship, funded by the best-selling author, promotes diversity on campus by providing support to minority students.

In the end, each student has his or her own story — and own dreams that these generous donors are helping to make become a reality. For more information on funding a scholarship, please call Mary Ellen Malone at (718) 862-7976.

James Patterson Minority Scholarship

When Danielle Desir ’12 began her college search four years ago, she knew she wanted a school with a good pre-med program that wouldn’t take her too far from her mother in Rockland County. 

“When I first came to Manhattan, it was a rainy day, and I wasn’t too sure,” she says, though she liked the pre-med program. “When I came the second time, it was spring, and everyone was on the Quad. I loved the community spirit.” And her mind was made-up.

But coming from a single parent household and facing tough economic times, Desir wasn’t sure if she could afford it. She credits James Patterson ’69 with making it possible for her to attend the College. 

A recipient of the James Patterson Minority Scholarship, Desir says that she is inspired to be assisted financially by the famous author.  “I work hard to try to surpass his requirements,” she says. 

Now a senior and a finance major with a chemistry minor, Desir is deeply involved in campus life as president of the MC Steppers, an admissions tour guide, and a mentee in the mentoring program. She is currently being mentored by an ophthalmologist and remains intent on her dream to become a doctor. 

“I want to open my own practice, so it’s good to know the business side,” she explains. “I am so grateful to be so honored with the James Patterson scholarship.”

Joseph Van Etten ’57 Memorial Civil Engineering Scholarship

“Manhattan College wasn’t on my list,” admits Joe Portaro ’13, a civil engineering student.

But his parents had read articles that discussed Manhattan College’s highly regarded engineering school, and so the family came to visit.

During his visit, Portaro went on a tour and sat in on some engineering classes. And the Poughkeepsie native was sold. 

“I loved the ambience and being in New York City,” he says. “The engineering program is so well-known, it clarified my decision even more.”

This fall, Portaro will be the first recipient of the Joseph Van Etten ’57 Memorial Civil Engineering Scholarship, a scholarship that was recently endowed. Founded in 1997 by Joseph Van Etten to support an award to an upper-level civil engineering student, funding is generated through the annual Construction Industry Golf outing on July 25. Today, Milo Riverso ’81 and Mike McHugh ’80 and a group of Manhattan engineering alumni chair the outing, which brings civil engineering and construction alumni and friends together at a networking event.

Portaro plans to pursue a career in construction engineering, on the design side.

“I love buildings,” he says. “That’s why I love being in New York City.”

In expressing gratitude for the scholarship, Portaro says, “I am glad that people want to help fulfill the dreams and career choices of students.”

DeFeo Family Scholarship

Mary Kate Boylan ’12, who hails from Philadelphia, couldn’t see herself going to a college in the middle of the countryside or a small town.

“I wanted to be near the city, and Manhattan College seemed to have a good community,” she says. “I knew I definitely wanted to come here.”

A communications major, Boylan wants to pursue a career in journalism and to write. She is currently the arts and entertainment editor for The Quadrangle, and last semester she interned at Women’s eNews. In addition, Boylan is deeply involved with the campus community and serves as a resident advisor, an orientation leader and an admissions tour guide. She also works in the communications academic department, and is thankful to her benefactor, Neil DeFeo ’68, who, she says, makes her campus involvement possible.

Boylan receives the DeFeo Family Scholarship, a scholarship reserved for select students who demonstrate the capacity for and practice of leadership.

“I’m grateful, the scholarship has given me an opportunity to be more involved on campus, in leadership and in activities,” she says. Most of all, Boylan is grateful that she has the opportunity to be a part of the Manhattan community she admired as a prospective student. 


*Article from the spring edition of the Manhattan magazine.