The generosity of SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s community of supporters was on display during this year’s SUNY Poly Foundation Annual Day of Giving with nearly $185,000 having been raised, surpassing last year’s total of $113,000. This includes new endowed scholarships by alumni Kevin P. Volk (’83), Steve (’06) and Gina Surace (’03), and NYSTEC in honor of longtime employee and alum Michele Salisbury (’94).

SUNY Poly’s Day of Giving, a 24-hour fundraising campaign held on March 30, encouraged alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of SUNY Poly to contribute in an effort to move the university forward and ensure students meet their educational goals.

The funds raised will benefit several areas of support on campus, including Wildcat athletics, student scholarships, the Educational Opportunities Program, SUNY Poly Emergency Fund, Poly Pantry, and the SUNY Poly Annual Fund. The new scholarships will help further defray college costs for students attending SUNY Poly.

The Annual Day of Giving was made possible through partnerships with several sponsors. “President Sponsors” included NYSTEC, SUNY Poly’s Student Government Association, First Source Federal Credit Union, Steve and Gina Surace, and a “Remarkable Man.” “Provost Sponsors” were Berkshire Bank, Pepsi Co. and Wildcat Hospitality (Aramark), and “Scholar Sponsors” included Clifford Fuel & Market, Kevin Volk, Passero Associates, SR Sloan, The Wildcat Den/Auxiliary Services and Utica First Insurance Company.

Kevin Volk Scholarship

SUNY Poly alumnus Kevin P. Volk recently announced that he is including the SUNY Poly Foundation in his estate plans to establish an endowed nursing scholarship to benefit undergraduate students in SUNY Poly’s College of Health Science nursing program. The commitment will be funded by a bequest, and when fully realized will provide scholarships to ensure that students who have a history of strong academic efforts, financial need, and a desire to positively impact people’s health through the nursing profession will be able to achieve success in SUNY Poly’s hands-on nursing programs before finding an exciting career in this in-demand medical field.

Kevin Volk is a 1983 graduate of SUNY Poly’s College of Business who worked for the New York State Senate in Albany for 32 years. He and his wife had previously established a nursing scholarship at SUNY Poly that was funded each year. Providing funds for an endowed scholarship will ensure that the principal gift, which will be established upon his passing, will never be invaded. Kevin is creating an extraordinary legacy through this gift and has set a remarkable example – one that he hopes will inspire others.

“Even though I graduated from the College of Business, I am proud to donate to nursing students because over the years, I have experienced some health setbacks,” said Kevin. “I am thankfully well now, but through my many experiences in and out of hospitals, I have come to appreciate how dedicated and hardworking nurses are. I am more convinced than ever that the nursing profession is essential, and we hope this support will help students thrive in this important career.”

Michele Salisbury Scholarship

The new $25,000 endowed scholarship established by NYSTEC in honor of Salisbury, a 1994 SUNY Poly alum who recently retired from the company, will benefit undergraduate female students enrolled in any field of study, with preference given to those with economic need.

“NYSTEC is thrilled to support the SUNY Poly Foundation’s Day of Giving and through the establishment of the Michele Salisbury Scholarship,” the company stated. “Throughout her career at NYSTEC, Michelle was a key member of the leadership team, a champion for women in the workforce, and an advocate for the community where she developed many strong relationships with strategic partners and community members.”

“To honor her focus on education and the impact that Michele leaves behind after her 20-plus years at NYSTEC the scholarship will be awarded to female students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds,” the company added. “Michele herself received a similar scholarship from Syracuse University to complete her master’s degree.”

NYSTEC said it’s proud to be able to partner with SUNY Poly to establish this scholarship and support the goal of developing a talented local workforce with a strong skillset in technology innovation, adding, “We hope to have many SUNY Poly students, including recipients of this scholarship, as future NYSTEC employees.”

Surace Family

Steve and Gina Surace, who graduated from SUNY Poly in 2006 and 2003, respectively, have established a $25,000 endowed scholarship that will benefit undergraduate business students.

“We are both graduates of SUNY Poly and have seen a lot of success come from that education,” said the couple. “We know firsthand how an investment in education pays dividends far into the future and believe very strongly that those students who also see a college education as their path should be assisted by those who have already traveled that path. We also know how challenging it can be to obtain a college degree in the current economic environment. We are hopeful that this gift will help push students closer to that goal.”

“I am extremely grateful to Kevin, Steve, Gina, and NYSTEC for their generosity in establishing these important endowed scholarships, which will allow SUNY Poly students to reach their dreams,” said SUNY Poly Foundation Chair Stephen Teti. “The SUNY Poly Foundation is proud to carry on its tradition of fostering career preparation, and while we know that these gifts will continue to have a positive impact on students for years to come, we also hope that they will inspire others to give, regardless of the size, to make a tangible difference for SUNY Poly students.”

Both current and new students can learn about available scholarships by visiting SUNY Poly’s main admissions scholarship web page

A Culture of Giving
The recently established endowed scholarships come after a number of gifts were announced ahead of last year’s Annual Day of Giving, including:

  • The Robert and Mary Ford Scholarship Fund: With the intent to provide scholarship support to help students experiencing unforeseen financial hardship address unmet needs, including housing or books, for example, this fund is not only aimed at supporting success for students of all backgrounds, it was also established by former SUNY Poly Chief Operating Officer Michael Frame to further encourage SUNY Poly’s faculty, staff, alumni, and others to give from within SUNY Poly’s own family.
  • The Michael and Valorie Hochberg Endowed Scholarship: Provided in memory of the late Dr. Michael Hochberg, Professor of Biology and Chemistry, this $25,000 endowed scholarship fund has been funded by his family with significant support from faculty and staff at SUNY Poly. Upon Professor Hochberg’s passing in 2021, his family directed all donations be made to the SUNY Poly Foundation to continue Dr. Hochberg’s legacy of uplifting students, and it provides awards for undergraduates enrolled in biology; associate’s degree to bachelor’s
    degree in nursing (RN to BSN); and/or the dual degree (1+2+1) nursing partnership program with St. Elizabeth College of Nursing—and who receive a merit scholarship from SUNY Poly while maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • A $25,000 endowed scholarship was also established by Dr. Naseem Qazi and Dr.
    Salahuddin Qazi, Professor Emeritus. This endowed scholarship provides funds for
    undergraduate students enrolled in SUNY Poly STEM programs, with preference for those
    with financial need, a disability, and/or those who have a refugee background.
  • More information about these gifts can be found here

Unrestricted donations provide the SUNY Poly Foundation with the flexibility to divert funds where they are needed most to achieve a strategic goal, support an emerging initiative, or address significant or unanticipated student and campus needs.

Gifts of any amount are deeply appreciated and always impactful. If you would like to establish a scholarship at SUNY Poly, please contact Andrea LaGatta, Assistant Vice President for Development at For other gifts, please visit:

About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)

SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, game design, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit


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