Stockton University Receives Major Gift from Estate of Gerald Clemens of Pleasantville, N.J.

Gerald Clemens’ estate is still being settled, but Stockton University science students will benefit from the Pleasantville, N.J. man’s generous legacy for many years to come.

“Jerry” Clemens, who was born in Atlantic City and worked as a manager in the State of  New Jersey Employment Office in Atlantic City for decades, died at age 81 in December 2014. He was a 1951 graduate of Pleasantville High School who majored in History-Government and minored in Psychology-Philosophy at Wake Forest in North Carolina. He was also interested in sociology, religion, economics, Roman civilization and took extra courses in physics and chemistry, which earned him a Bachelor of Science degree. He also pursued a master’s degree at Duke University, but with his draft number due to come up, he enlisted in the Army, serving two years in Germany.

Although he never had the opportunity to finish his thesis, he clearly valued education and lifelong learning.

His sister, Norma Clemens Caputo, said Clemens attended many classes and seminars in South Jersey and bought a computer at age 70, becoming adept at using it. “He read many magazines cover-to-cover each month, many about finance,” she noted. He was also extremely passionate and knowledgeable about politics on the regional and national levels, she said.

Among his bequests is a directive that a scholarship be established to “provide scholarship monies to eligible college students who demonstrate a desire and/or capacity to study engineering or any of the physical sciences, including, but not limited to, physics, chemistry, and computer sciences.”  
 His family generously decided to establish the Gerald Clemens Endowed Scholarship at Stockton. The university recently received $300,000, with final distribution expected to come in late spring or early summer when the estate settlement is complete.

“Stockton is extremely grateful for the generosity of the estate of Mr. Clemens, as well as his family, in creating this scholarship for students of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, which awards about 22 percent of all the science and mathematics undergraduate degrees at New Jersey’s senior public colleges and universities,” said President Harvey Kesselman. “With the coming expansion of the Unified Science Center’s world-class facilities and the opportunities provided by this scholarship, more students will be able to complete their degrees in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

His sister, the executrix of the estate, is retired and living in Delaware. She explained why Stockton was selected to nurture her brother’s legacy.

“My brother regularly donated generously to many charities,” Caputo said. “I am proud that he chose to create a scholarship in order to benefit others. I chose Stockton for this bequest because of Jerry's keen interest in southern New Jersey and because Stockton is known for its academic excellence, its strong support of students through scholarships, and for the opportunities it provides for students to work with faculty on scientific research.”

The initial award will be distributed through the university’s scholarship award process that occurs at least one full year after the scholarship is fully funded, thus allowing time for earnings to accumulate. One or more student recipients will be selected each year by the university’s Scholarship Selection Committee. Recipients are to be full-time, undergraduate or graduate students in good academic standing, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.