Retired administrator establishes scholarship
Every gift adds up to make a big difference
Donald D. Blake, PhD '74
It all started when colleagues and friends pooled their resources to honor administrator and educator Donald D. Blake, PhD '74, who was retiring after a 33-year career at Binghamton University.
Together, the group established an award in 2007 to honor Blake and recognize the outstanding scholarship of a senior from the English, General Literature and Rhetoric Department who planned to pursue a graduate degree in English. Blake and his wife, Jane, provided additional support to convert the award into a scholarship. The type of student who will receive the support will now be an incoming student instead of a graduating senior.
This year, for the first time, an incoming first-year student enrolled in Harpur College of Arts and Sciences will receive the Donald D. Blake Scholarship. Preference will be given to a student with demonstrated financial need.
Blake said he hopes the scholarship will open doors for its recipients and put them on the path to success. He looks forward to being able to meet the scholarship recipient at the Binghamton University Foundation's annual Scholarship Donors Luncheon each November, an opportunity he did not usually have with the Blake Award recipients because as graduating seniors, they received their awards then typically left to begin their graduate programs.
"Education is a great opportunity and a great gift, and I want it to be available to as many people as possible," he said. "A scholarship can reduce the cost of attending college. And it's just another pat on the back, figuratively speaking, saying someone is here pushing you along."
It was also important for Blake to support liberal arts education, recognizing the impact it had on his own life and career.
"The foundation for all education is the liberal arts," Blake said. "Out of that we get the well-rounded citizen. Binghamton is centered on the liberal arts. That's what I love about Binghamton."
Blake added that the scholarship is one way he is saying "thank you" to those who have supported him along the way. "I got my PhD here. My whole working career was here," he said. "It's important to give back."
- Earned doctorate in English from Binghamton in spring 1974
- Began working as a Harpur College academic advisor that summer
- Taught English courses at Binghamton part-time over the years
- Retired in 2007 as associate dean for academic affairs in Harpur College
- Rejoined the University staff to fill various roles, including ombudsman twice, most recently in 2015
- Still connected to Binghamton as a Lyceum member and poetry teacher, and former president of the group (2016-17). The organization, dedicated to lifelong learning, is for those over age 50. It offers non-credit courses taught by volunteer instructors who include active and retired teachers, professionals and hobbyists