December 24, 2012

PSU bequest second-largest ever from alumna

Formerlibrarian hadgreat lovefor college

PLATTSBURGH — SUNY Plattsburgh has been bequeathed $470,000, the second-largest gift from an alumna in the college’s history.

The donation comes from the estate of former librarian Phyllis Wells, who died in January at age 82. 

Wells earned a Master of Science in elementary education at SUNY Plattsburgh in 1957. She decided to give the bulk of her estate to SUNY Plattsburgh because she “lived her life here and built her career at the college,” a press release said.

She joined the staff as an assistant librarian in 1957, and earned several promotions throughout her tenure. She became a senior assistant librarian in 1979 and an associate librarian in 1987, retiring later that year.

“She spent her whole career with us,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Anne Whitmore Hansen in the release. “She enjoyed her work and took great pride in her connection with the college. When she informed me of her intention to support the college so generously, she commented that ‘it was simply the right thing to do because the college gave her so much.’”


She also made it clear that she wanted her gift to be significant, Hansen said. 

“Phyllis was an extremely determined person. She would regularly share her progress toward meeting her philanthropic goal. She delighted in imagining the impact she would have on students and the library.”

“Her impact on the college as both an employee and a volunteer was already significant,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling in the release, “but, with this gift, Phyllis will continue to make a difference, especially for our students who need financial support more than ever.”

Most of the gift will support the Phyllis Wells Endowed Scholarship, a fund that is unrestricted and so allows the college to better adapt to the needs of students.


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