Recently endowed funds will benefit education, nursing, and engineering majors

A gift given in honor of a beloved aunt and two fundraising efforts undertaken to memorialize former faculty members who passed away reached endowment status recently, reported TCNJ’s development office. Two of the funds created student scholarships whose initial recipients were announced last semester. The third fund is supporting the nursing department’s clinical simulation laboratory.

“Thanks to the generosity of many, the memories of Hazel Danley Bokey, Class of 1933, and Professors Joseph Shelley and Gladys Word will live on in perpetuity, and their lasting legacies will be to ensure that future generations of TCNJ students have increased educational opportunities,” said Peter Manetas, interim vice president for advancement.

Hazel Danley Bokey ’33 Fund will support future educators

Hazel Danley Bokey '33 (c) 1933 Seal

As an elementary school student, Hazel Danley Bokey ’33 dedicated herself to reading the dictionary one summer. But when she returned to school and used some of the words she had learned, her teacher ridiculed rather than rewarded her efforts. “He said she was showing off,” explained Bokey’s niece, Florence Ann Roberts, “and that she shouldn’t be using words she didn’t understand—even though she did know what they meant and was using them correctly.” The incident made a strong impression on the young grade-schooler, surmised Roberts. “I think a part of the reason Aunt Hazel later became a teacher was because she didn’t want something like that to happen to others.”

Bokey grew up during the Great Depression on a small farm in Pemberton, NJ. Her chances of attending college seemed in doubt when her father passed away at a young age. But her older brother, Irvin, found work at a gas station to help pay his sister’s tuition. It started a family tradition of helping others “get a leg up,” Roberts explained. Bokey, who had no children of her own, later paid for Roberts’ mother to attend nursing school; in turn, Roberts’ mother paid for her own younger sister to pursue a degree in nursing.

After graduating, Bokey taught elementary school for 20 years in the Pemberton and Bordentown Regional school districts, and touched the lives not just of students, but everyone she came in contact with throughout her lifetime, Roberts said.

“Aunt Hazel was an incredibly generous spirit who was the perfect model of living a rich life,” said Roberts. A writer of poetry who was well known for sending heartfelt correspondence, Bokey had a prodigious memory, an extraordinary vocabulary, and was a wonderful storyteller who could keep listeners enthralled with her wit and wisdom right up until her passing in 2010, said Roberts.

“She impacted so many people during her life, and I wanted that impact to continue on after her death,” said Roberts, who established the Hazel Danley Bokey ’33 Fund shortly after her aunt’s passing. Roberts, along with other memorial gifts, made an outright donation to establish an endowed named fund (endowment minimum level is $25,000), then augmented her donation by making a charitable gift annuity. The fund now provides a $1,000 scholarship, renewable up to four years, to an education student, with preference given to students who matriculate from the school districts in which Bokey once taught. “Aunt Hazel believed strongly in education and in helping young people, so I thought this was the best way to remember her,” said Roberts, adding, “I am so pleased that TCNJ has found such a fitting recipient for this scholarship.”

Last fall, freshman Kaitlyn Clear was named the first recipient of the scholarship. The 2011 Pemberton High graduate is enrolled in TCNJ’s five-year Urban Education program.

“It was always my dream to be a great educator and to make a difference in the life of even one child. By receiving this scholarship and continuing my education, I am well on my way to achieving those aspirations,” said Clear.

Joseph F. Shelley Scholarship will support mechanical engineering students

Prof. Joseph Shelley

Professor Joseph Shelley taught mechanical engineering at TCNJ from 1973 to 2002. An accomplished engineer and expert in the field, he also served as a consultant for the U.S. Army and provided engineering analysis and expert witness testimony for product liability litigation for many years. Shelley was the author of three seminal textbooks—Engineering Mechanics: Statics, Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics, and Engineering Dynamics: Statics and Dynamics, each of which has been translated into Spanish and Arabic—as well as two study guides that have helped engineering students around the world: 800 Solved Problems In Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Statics and 700 Solved Problems in Vector Mechanics for Engineers: Dynamics.

As an educator, Shelley was deeply dedicated to his students, instilling in them a pride of the profession. “He was a great professor and mentor who everyone loved,” recalled Gene Kritzberger ’78. Shelley’s classes were always “very hands-on,” and by sharing with students some details of the work he did outside the classroom, “Dr. Shelley gave us a good idea of the real-world applications of the things we were learning about,” said Kritzberger.

On a personal note, Kritzberger recalled fondly the assistance Shelley gave him and classmate Ken Lore ’78 when they were working on their senior project. The two students designed and built a portable hydraulic log splitter, and at Shelley’s behest, they entered it in the Lincoln Arc Welding Contest. The invention won fourth place in the country. “I used it for many years after college until I finally wore it out,” Kritzberger said, adding that he still holds onto the machine as a memento.

Upon learning of Shelley’s passing in 2009, Kritzberger joined the effort to establish a permanent memorial in the late professor’s name, writing his fellow engineering alumni and asking them to contribute as well. Many answered the call, and together with additional support from Shelley’s family, friends, and former colleagues, the Joseph F. Shelley Scholarship was established. It provides a one-year $1,000 award to a junior or senior mechanical engineering student. The scholarship is awarded on a competitive basis, with priority given to applicants who demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the engineering profession, possess leadership qualities, have a financial need, and a minimum 3.0 GPA in the major.

Last fall, senior Steven Voinier was named the first recipient. Voinier, who is the captain of the 2011–2012 Solar Splash team and served as president of TCNJ’s ASME chapter and treasurer for TCNJ’s Engineering Society, plans to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering after graduating this May. He said the Shelley award couldn’t have come at a better time. Facing some recent financial difficulty, he was forced to take out additional loans to pay his tuition this year. The scholarship reduced the amount he had to borrow, he said.

Dr. Gladys M. Word Endowment Fund will ensure top-notch clinical simulation experiences for nursing students

Prof. Gladys Word (c) Double Exposure Photography

Gladys Word was a part of the core fabric of the College’s School of Nursing for nearly 40 years. During that time, her commitment and dedication to her students, to whom she emphasized the important role of clinical professionalism, knowledge, and education, helped shape the careers of hundreds of current and retired nurses.

Prior to arriving at the College in 1971, Word worked for nearly two decades as a nurse’s aid, practical nurse, registered nurse, and nurse educator. Although she had dropped out of high school, she realized early on the importance of furthering one’s education, and while working and raising a family, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s and doctorate degrees in education from Rutgers University.

Word was especially passionate about clinical learning for nursing students, where they demonstrate synthesis and application of knowledge and skills to improve patient outcomes. Clinical simulation augments clinical learning in the safety of the lab before students take care of patients, offers additional experiences for students as they master skills, and enables faculty to evaluate student performance during clinical scenarios.

“She believed nursing is a practice profession, and that clinical experiences are critical for students,” explained Marcia Blicharz, interim dean of the School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science.

When Word passed in 2010, a grassroots effort got underway to create a permanent memorial for the beloved professor. The Dr. Gladys M. Word Fund was established to support in perpetuity TCNJ’s clinical simulation laboratory, which would be renamed in Word’s honor. Through the generosity of family, friends, and former colleagues and students, the fund quickly reached the $25,000 mark needed for endowment status, said development office officials. As of March 2012, total gifts received and pledged to the fund have surpassed the $40,000 mark, and the goal is to eventually raise $100,000, which will help ensure top-notch clinical simulation experiences for future generations of TCNJ nursing students.

“This is a befitting memorial to Dr. Word and a vital contribution to ensuring high-quality teaching and learning in nursing education,” noted current Interim Provost Susan Bakewell-Sachs.

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