Duncan Slobodzian ’10 is going to be a teacher one day. “There has long been a fundamental inkling toward [the profession] in my personality,” the English education major said. It makes sense Duncan would be drawn to such a vocation: his mother, Jean, is an assistant professor at the College.
As such, Professor Slobodzian is also a member of Local 2364 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the bargaining unit that represents faculty, librarians, and a small number of professional staff at the College. Last fiscal year, AFT Local 2364 donated $5,000 to TCNJ Foundation, the fundraising arm of the College. The money established scholarships for TCNJ students whose parent (or parents) are represented by the local bargaining unit, said Ralph Edelbach, president of Local 2364.
Last year Duncan and four other students—Alexander Carney ’08, Sean Potucek ’09, Alexander Sisko ’10, and graduate student Jessica Hunt—received the first five AFT Local 2364 Scholarships, each totaling $1,000.
The AFT gift was just one of many given to the College last year. In total, TCNJ received $4.5 million in donations during FY 2008, said Peter Manetas, assistant vice president for development. For Duncan though, receiving the AFT scholarship was about more than just receiving financial help.
“I was incredibly honored,” Duncan said. “Achieving recognition within the field of education is…[something] that I don’t take lightly. Associating myself with an organization of the caliber of the AFT is both a true joy and valuable tangible asset to me as I move forward.”
Edelbach, who is also an associate professor of technology studies, said first preference for the AFT scholarship is given to students who have demonstrated need as defined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Local 2364 unit members voted to establish the award as a way to help deserving students at the College, he said.
The money comes from Local 2364’s membership dues and agency fees, Edelbach said, and the union plans to continue supporting the scholarships as long as it has the funds to do so.
In addition to the gift from AFT, TCNJ Foundation received donations from more than 5,100 alumni who gave $959,648 to their Alma Mater. Some gave unrestricted gifts to the Annual Fund; others initiated funds for softball, the arts, education, business, student leadership, and numerous other areas. A full recounting of all donations received during FY 2008 is available online at www.tcnj.edu/~alumni/donors/.