Junior Stephanie DiIonno enjoys being involved with TCNJ’s Teachers of Young Children Association, a student-run organization that, among other things, spearheads school supply drives and provides tutoring services to local schoolchildren. Recently though, it was DiIonno who found herself on the receiving end of a stranger’s benevolence when a series of events left her with no way to pay her semester’s tuition—and facing the prospect of having to withdraw from school.
DiIonno is the most recent recipient of the Lucretia Brown Smith ’40 Scholarship Fund, an award established from a bequest made by a former teacher who wanted to give something back to students in TCNJ’s School of Education. In consultation with Smith’s family, the College used the gift to create a fund that provides one-time emergency scholarship assistance to education majors facing financial crises that prevent them from continuing their studies.
“The College is doing a great job administrating this scholarship fund,” Richard L. Smith ’67, Lucretia’s son and administrator of her estate, said. “Mom was always very proud to be a teacher, and [the College] is carrying out her desire to support deserving students in the teaching profession.”
Thanks to Smith’s gift, DiIonno remained enrolled and is continuing to work toward dual degrees in elementary education and psychology. Her career goal is to work as an elementary school counselor. “I couldn’t get this type of an educational experience anywhere else, and I couldn’t have remained at TCNJ without this scholarship,” DiIonno said.
She added that she wrote Richard a note of thanks. “I told him every opportunity I have this semester, and every memory I make, is because of his mother’s generosity.”