Donor news

Emergencies don’t wait — neither do you

Immediate-use scholarships help students keep going

Image: Charles P. Pfleeger and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger ’70, LHD ’00, after a bike ride in Washington, D.C., in August 2014.
Charles P. Pfleeger and Shari Lawrence Pfleeger ’70, LHD ’00, after a bike ride in Washington, D.C., in August 2014. Image Credit: Reid Silverman.

Life as Halima Rashid ’23 knew it took a 180-degree turn after the COVID-19 pandemic began. The market where she worked closed for good. Her family lost her mom’s income, too.

“Being the first to attend college felt extremely exciting, but we felt stressed and overwhelmed with the expense that college life brought,” said Rashid, whose younger brother is also a college student. “With the pandemic, life became even more stressful. It was a tough time for all of us.”

Shari Lawrence Pfleeger ’70, LHD ’00, and Charles P. Pfleeger were there to help. When Rashid and other students needed them most, the Pfleegers made a gift to support scholarships for students facing financial hardships because of death or sickness in the family that caused a loss of family income.

The Pfleegers said they were encouraged and enabled by others. Now that they’re in a position to do the same, they pay it forward as often as possible.

“A disaster can shred a student’s already-tight budget,” Shari Lawrence Pfleeger said.

Needs are many, wide-ranging and intense during the pandemic, but in any given year there are students with pressing and often unpredictable needs, the Pfleegers said.

Donor support can change a student’s life.

“I always dreamt of joining the healthcare field, but oftentimes I feel stressed and lost when I realize the financial responsibilities that are expected out of a pre-health student,” Rashid said. “Being able to receive help means the world. I feel so grateful to have been selected. It really motivated me to keep working hard.”


  • One-third of Binghamton students have unmet financial need. That means despite federal and state grants, loans (their parents' and theirs), jobs, scholarships and awards, they still have a yearly gap of around $11,000. That’s $44,000 over four years. On top of the loans.
  • Many of their families have taxable incomes of less than $20,000 a year.