John L. Paluszek Scholarship Awarded To Elizabeth Kalaj ‘25 At Manhattan College

Scholarship Honors First Generation College Students in the Liberal Arts with a Focus on Civic Engagement

Manhattan College (the College) announced the awarding of the first Annual John L. Paluszek Scholarship which carries with it a stipend of $10,000 to Elizabeth Kalaj ’25. The Scholarship, with a focus on honoring first generation college students majoring in one of the liberal arts, also has a focus on exemplary community service and civic engagement.

Photo of John L. Paluszek Scholarship Winner Elizabeth Kalaj ‘25Ms. Kalaj is a junior majoring in psychology with a minor in environmental studies as well as religious studies. Matching the established criteria for the Scholarship, Ms. Kalaj is a first- generation college student with solid academic credentials – having been on the Dean’s List every semester and enjoying a GPA of 3.86 – and works both on and off campus to relieve some of the financial costs of a college education. Importantly, she is a stellar example of living the Lasallian mission of Manhattan College of supporting others through extracurricular activities, including volunteering at the Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite, serving as a resident advisor, and, in her own words, “…participating in just about every clothing drive or volunteer event on campus.” She also serves as the President of the College’s Psychology Club.

Said Mr. Paluszek, “As a 1955 Manhattan College graduate and first-generation college student, I wanted to shine a light on those students who are driven to succeed academically in any of the liberal arts, realize the importance of giving back to their communities, and understand the special challenges of a first- generation college student. The success that I have been fortunate enough to achieve as an adult has its roots in my family upbringing and the superior education that I received at Manhattan College. It is important to me that I give back in a small way to contribute to the success of future students such as Elizabeth.”

Paluszek served the College in many ways prior to the establishment of the scholarship bearing his name; he is a trustee emeritus of the College and was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. He also is the Past National President of the Public Relations Society of America which recently honored him by renaming its Atlas Award the John L. Paluszek Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in International Public Relations. He spent the majority of his career as Senior Counsel at Ketchum, the communications consultancy.

According to Dr. Heidi Laudien and Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, Co-chairs of the John L. Paluszek Scholarship Award Committee, “We are so grateful to John for the establishment of this Scholarship and the incredible impact that it will have upon the lives of the selected honorees going forward. We also appreciate the emphasis placed upon students majoring in one of the liberal arts and the importance of civic engagement and giving back to their communities. This truly embodies the spirit of the well-rounded education that our students receive at Manhattan College and Elizabeth is a superior choice to be chosen as the inaugural recipient.”

As part of the Scholarship, the selected student will serve as an ambassador for successive honorees. The official awarding of the John L. Paluszek Scholarship to Ms. Kalaj will take place in the Fall of 2024.

By MC Staff