Tuesday, Feb 8, 2022
The Stainman Family Fund helps high-achievers at Rider to complete their education and graduate with as little debt as possible
by Diane Cornell
This year, one Rider scholarship is funding eight students’ education.
The recipients say they are “beyond grateful” for the support from the Stainman Family Fund, which was established in 2015 by Arthur ’65 and Lois Stainman, along with their children, Susan and Evan ’01 Stainman, to help high-achieving juniors and seniors with financial need eliminate a large portion of their student debt.
“As the daughter of a single mother, I pay for a lot of my college expenses myself,” says one of the scholarship recipients, senior Alyxandria Batty, a musical theatre major. “This has deleted a big chunk of what I’d have to pay back. Now I don’t have to pay interest on my last year’s loan – that loan is just gone now. So that is huge!”
The endowed scholarship fund assists students who have a 3.5 or higher grade-point average.
In addition to Batty, this year’s recipients include seniors Xyaire Merriweather and Ethan Manton and junior Amaya Pegeron.
Also, four other students were notified that they will receive the scholarship for a second year. The scholarships of seniors Christopher Lynch, Avery Thomson, Ryan Won and Meghan Mulhearn are being renewed.
“It was so great to get the scholarship again this year,” says Mulhearn, a marketing major from Jefferson Township, N.J. “I take out loans every year. My mom is a single mom, so it is a burden to pay for the loans myself. Thanks to the Stainman family and my Rider scholarship, my costs have been covered these last two years.”
Mulhearn, a Delta Phi Epsilon sister, says the Stainman scholarship “boosted my morale and it has allowed me to do something I always wanted, which is to live in the sorority’s house. It is something extra that I could never afford before and I am so happy that I get to experience it before I graduate.”
Avery Thomson says receiving the scholarship has brought “peace and resolution” to his life, especially now, amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“This scholarship has lifted months, if not years, of working to pay student loans off my and my family’s shoulders,” he says. “This means the world to me.”
Thomson, a resident of Middletown, N.J., says that rather than working 50-plus hours during the winter term, he can now focus more on his studies. He carries a triple major in organizational psychology, information systems and business analytics.
Xyaire Merriweather of Rahway, N.J., a public relations major, says the news that she received the Stainman scholarship for her final year at Rider provided an opportunity for her to move up her plans to enroll in Rider’s master’s in business communication program after she graduates in May. She hopes to open her own public relations firm to promote issues of diversity and inclusion or to assist in crisis communications.
“My parents had just taken out a loan for my senior year, so we were all really excited to learn that I was receiving this scholarship,” she says. Merriweather says the funds will allow her to pay off the loan, “wiping the debt clean” and placing her further along in achieving her ultimate goal of opening her own public relations firm. “I enjoy going to school and I enjoy going to my classes, and thanks to this scholarship, it is nice to know that I can now just focus on that. My family and I are beyond grateful.”
Since the endowment was established, Stainman, a Rider Trustee, along with his wife, Lois, and children Susan and Evan, have given multiple gifts to increase the number of students the scholarship can assist. To date, the scholarship has assisted 31 students, helping to reduce their college debt.
This year’s recipients attended a luncheon on campus in December with University President Gregory G. Dell’Omo and Arthur Stainman where they were able to express their gratitude for the Stainmans’ support of the scholarship and relate how much it means to them and their families.
“I was so pleased to meet this year's Stainman Family Scholarship recipients and hear how the Stainmans' support is making such a difference in their lives,” Dell’Omo says. “When Rider alumni give back in this meaningful way, they make such a significant impact on our students. It was my privilege to see this impact firsthand.”
Upon learning that she was a recipient, and that the scholarship would enable her to pay off her entire loan for this school year, Amaya Pegeron of Piscataway, N.J., says she was eager to share the good news with her mother. “She was so excited and proud, she literally started crying. I pay all my loans on my own so this was such a blessing and a huge weight off my shoulders.”
In addition to studying marketing, Pegeron also works full time at Ulta Beauty and says her dream is to be able to study in Italy for a semester. Because the scholarship has relieved some of her debt, she says she now feels more confident that she can pursue that dream. She has already contacted an adviser to learn about studying abroad for her senior year where she hopes to learn how COVID-19 has affected tourism in places like Venice.
“I am beyond grateful to have someone invest in my future so I can take hold of other opportunities on campus,” she says. “I now have the ability to be more involved in clubs and groups and other activities. This scholarship has opened so many opportunities up to me.”
For more information about how a gift to an existing scholarship or establishing a new scholarship can benefit talented Rider students with financial need, contact Associate Director Gabrielle Rinkus at [email protected] or 609-896-5344.