$80, 80 Years

$80. 80 days. 80 years.

Those are the numbers Staples Tuition Grants want you to know.

And act on.

Since its founding in 1943 — 80 years ago — the non-profit has helped thousands of graduates with financial need achieve their dreams of higher education.

There was one grant that first wartime year: $100. David Hughes leveraged the important aid to earn a bachelor’s degree from Harvard. He added a master’s, Ph.D. — and stayed on, as a professor of music.

David Hughes’ writeup in the 1943 Staples yearbook.

Last year, STG provided 4,000 times that amount — $400,000 — to 108 graduating seniors, and Staples alums already in college. Grants ranged from $7,500 to $1,500.

The money did not fall from the sky. It came from nearly 700 individuals, families and organizations. They contributed to over 80 named awards, and to Staples Tuition Grants’ general fund.

Now there’s a new one: the 80th Anniversary Community Award.

It’s accepting donations for just 80 days — from last Thursday through April 30. Contributions can be made in increments of $80: $80, $160, $320, $800, $8,000 — whatever feels right.

Donations can honor a teacher, coach, administrator, student, loved one, friend — or, say, the entire graduating class of 2023. “In honor” donations will be recognized at this year’s award ceremony.

The $100 awarded to David Hughes in 1943 went a long way. Harvard’s undergraduate tuition in the ’40s was about $400.

This year, tuition alone is $52,569. Add room, board, other fees and more, and you’re talking real money.

In-state tuition at the University of Connecticut is $18,524 — without room, board and other expenses.

Many Westporters can afford the full boat. Many more can’t.

Staples Tuition Grants honorees gathered in 2021. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

But — whether you have children of college age or not; whether you graduated from Staples, or college, or not — think in terms of $80 increments.

Staples Tuition Grants hopes many Westporters, and former residents, do.

If so, then in 80 days from now, a number of worthy graduates will be a bit closer to a college education.

It’s something that could serve them well, for their next 80 years.

To donate to the 80th Anniversary Community Award, click here. For the Staples Tuition Grants home page, click here. To read the backgrounds and biographies of the 80-plus named awards, click here.

After the 2018 Staples Tuition Grants ceremony, pediatrician Dr. Albert Beasley and his wife (3rd and 4th from left) posed with 4 former patients (from left): Nicole Greenberg Donovan, Dan Woog, Dan Donovan and Lynn Untermeyer Miller. Dr. Beasley has since died, but his named award lives on. (Photo/Paddy Donovan)

12 responses to “$80, 80 Years

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70 (detention ‘67-‘70)

    80 is such a relevant number these days. Especially at TEAM Westport (where it’s the mean member’s IQ).

  2. Here’s a (silly) question: Why do Ivy League schools charge so much? Because they can?

    • It’s not just Ivy League schools. Many private institutions charge high tuitions.

      They do not get state funding, as public institutions do. They rely on tuition and endowments. Private universities often have smaller class sizes and small departments, which cost big bucks.

      • Yes, but in my experience graduates of UCONN, for example, are equally qualified as those from Yale, for example.
        It’s common knowledge (pardon the pun).

        • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

          Dawna, Dan’s a buddy and a good guy. But he’s also a proud Ivy Leaguer so don’t expect him to get the joke (that the Ivy League has been playing on minorities all of these years). What’s truly obscene is that Harvard has an endowment not far from a trillion and our government in power has decided that Harvard can’t afford to lower its tuition but you and I who are graduates of plebeian untermensch colleges or just HS grads should pay off their student loans.

  3. Another question: Why do Ivy League schools (particularly Harvard) have a problem with Asian applicants?

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70, National Lampoon ‘74

      Because, although it’s probably politically incorrect for me to say this, Asians that I have known tend to have a predisposition for hard work and study. They like to earn their way and generally are self-reliant. My son married an Asian girl and she flew through Bowdoin, Michigan and Chicago on a combination of scholarships, student loans and teaching jobs. She took a couple of years off to go to Japan and teach Japanese to American kids whose parents were working there. She is self-confident and assertive. People like her pose a deep threat to the status quo at “plantations” like Harvard where the old white men in power like their minorities to stay in their place and worship their benefactors.

  4. Great piece, Dan. Well explained too, thanks for all your support over the years for all the kids who need these grants – thank you.

Leave a Reply