Students and Donors Celebrate Scholarship Impact

Evita Vasquez Reyes was one of six recipients of the Arman Roy Foundation Hope Scholarship for 2024; Vasquez Reyes and her donors were the featured speakers for this year's Scholarship Recognition Dinner on Wednesday, March 6.

Galloway, N.J. – The impact of a scholarship isn’t just felt by student recipients – donors are forever changed when they use their time, treasures and talents to support the future of students.

This was evidenced when Manisha Roy took the stage to discuss how the Arman Roy Foundation works in partnership with the Stockton University Foundation to financially assist students through the Arman Roy Foundation Hope Scholarship and carry on the memory of their late son. She spoke during the annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner on Wednesday, March 6, in the Campus Center.

“[Stockton] got to know about our beautiful son, Arman, who had an extraordinary gift and passion for technology,” Roy said. “He was humble and kind and helped everyone he knew. Even at a young age, he recognized the issue of the digital divide and how bridging that gap could really change lives. He knew instantaneously that's what he wanted to do with his life.

“So, when we tragically lost him in April of 2019, we had to find a way to turn our incredible pain into purpose by carrying forward his dream of empowering underserved students with technology, resources and education, enabling them to be successful in today's digital world.”

The recipient of this year’s Arman Roy Foundation Hope Scholarship, Evita Vasquez Reyes, is a sophomore in the Computer Science program. In her speech, she talked about the hardships her mother went through to support their family after emigrating from Guatemala. Thanks to the scholarship, the first-generation student has been able to “break generational barriers” and become an active student on campus with groups such as the Student Senate, Los Latinos Unidos and the Chemistry Society.   

Manisha and Pryia Roy with Evita Vasquez Reyes
Manisha and Pryia Roy with Evita Vasquez Reyes, one of the recipients of the Arman Roy Foundation Hope Scholarship.  

“I have now set my future generations on a new path. My future children will not have to navigate the college process alone because they will have me for support,” Vasquez Reyes said. “Not only has the scholarship helped make my dream of receiving a higher education possible, but it has allowed me to integrate myself into the community here at Stockton.”

With a clear vision for her future, Vasquez Reyes plans to graduate in 2027 and has a strong desire to pay forward the support she has received. Her goal is to help students like her who are striving to overcome barriers and achieve their educational dreams.

“As a recipient of the scholarship, I understand its importance and how heartwarming it can be to know that others are supporting you along the way. I also hope to become a source of support for others in the future, but right now, whether it's by becoming a software engineer or by entering the world of cybersecurity, I've taken a step toward furthering my professional career, and I have Stockton and the Arman Roy Foundation Hope Scholarship to thank for that,” she said.

The Roys aren’t the only donors attempting to make a difference in a students lives. A new endowed fund named after the late Gail Rosenthal, who for more than three decades directed the internationally recognized Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton, was announced at the dinner. Dan Nugent, vice president for University Advancement, talked about the legacy Rosenthal left on campus. 

Stockton Music Union

Stockton Music Union

President Joe with George Goldoff (Hard Rock) and Mukesh Roy (Foundation, Arman Roy Foundation)

Students talking with Irvin Moreno-Rodriguez

EVP Terricita Sass talking with students

Students posing for a photo with Talon

“Gail’s impact reached beyond academia as she led transformative study tours and cultivated connections with institutions worldwide. She was instrumental in securing substantial philanthropic support for student scholarships, and now, thanks to her work, more than $100,000 is awarded annually to students in Holocaust & Genocide Studies and Jewish Studies, and that number continues to grow,” Nugent said. “I'm very proud to share with all of you that Gail’s friends, colleagues and family have established an endowment in her memory to support future programming at the Holocaust Center that will continue her commitment to these students.” 

During his remarks, President Joe Bertolino commented on how common memorial scholarships are at Stockton and how it has inspired him to honor the memory of his late mother, Eileen Bertolino, ’77, with a scholarship that will benefit students in the Nursing program.

“Scholarships, no matter the amount, have a transformative impact on their recipients. By investing in our students, you’re investing in their personal growth, career development and the betterment of the community. When the students you’ve helped today graduate and go out into the world, they will be better equipped to problem-solve, create positive change and, hopefully, someday come back and sit here next to future students. Scholarships, in so many ways, are not just gifts; they're also great ways to honor those who have had an impact on you,” Bertolino said.

In addition to a video presentation that highlighted different scholarship recipients on campus, attendees enjoyed dinner and music by the Stockton Music Union

As the program drew to a close, Brigid Callahan Harrison ’88 thanked the donors in attendance for the more than $1 million awarded by the Foundation to more than 700 students this year.  Harrison, who serves as chair for the Foundation, was a first-generation student herself, trying to balance school with work before receiving the Marione, Biel and Zlotnick Scholarship.

“I stand here today as a testament to the transformative power of foundation scholarships,” Harrison said. “Without the generous support of the scholarship that I was awarded, I would not have been able to overcome the financial obstacles standing in the way of my graduation. These scholarships not only provided me with the means to pursue my studies but also instilled in me a sense of hope and determination for a brighter future.

“After hearing the stories and witnessing the impact firsthand, let us reaffirm our commitment to the mission of Stockton University Foundation to empower students to foster academic excellence and create opportunities for success. Together, we will continue to make a profound and lasting impact on the lives of current students and future generations of Stockton students.”

Foundation Scholarship Dinner Recognizes Students, Donors

March 7, 2023 

Senior Social Work major Aleyshka Barbosa, of Passaic, speaks at the Stockton Foundation Scholarship Recognition Dinner on March 1.
Senior Social Work major Aleyshka Barbosa, of Passaic, speaks at the Stockton Foundation Scholarship Recognition Dinner on March 1. Photo by Vern Ogrodnek.

Galloway, N.J. — Education has always been fun for Aleyshka Barbosa.

While in high school, she tried to take advantage of any free classes she could take during the summer. But growing up was tough, especially because of the perception of her hometown, Passaic, New Jersey.

“I saw an article that ranked Passaic the fourth most miserable city in the United States,” the senior said during a speech at the Stockton Foundation Scholarship Recognition Dinner on March 1. “I thought this is all that people will remember me by.”

Besides overcoming the negative perception of her hometown, the other major barrier to higher education was financial.

“Growing up, the biggest concern in my household was always money,” she said.

But thanks to three scholarships provided by the Stockton Foundation, the first-generation student is well on her way to earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. 

“My dreams became attainable, and the foundation scholarships are a big part as to why. I didn’t have to worry as much about money as I did growing up,” she said. “It enabled me to have the free time to become the student leader that I am today.”

Barbosa was one of more than 600 students this academic year who have been awarded more than $1 million in scholarships from the Foundation. 

-- Story by Mark Melhorn 

– Story by Loukaia Taylor

– Photos by Lizzie Nealis