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Accounting Professor, Sister Give SUNY Plattsburgh 'Gift of Confidence'

Calling it a “gift of confidence,” a SUNY Plattsburgh professor and his sister are making the largest unrestricted gift from individuals in the college’s history.

The gift – made by Dr. Kathleen Lusk-Brooke in the name of her brother, Accounting Professor Ed Lusk – will amount to $250,000 to be used at the college’s discretion.

In Recognition of Excellence

Lusk said that making the donation unrestricted was important. He has been so impressed by the management of the college under President John Ettling that he felt the gift had to be “one of confidence.” He noted that compared with other institutions, SUNY Plattsburgh is doing quite well, even in this tough economic climate.

“Everybody's not doing well, but we here at SUNY Plattsburgh are doing so much better than the average, and this is a reflection of John's management team,” Lusk said. “This gift is a vote of confidence that these resources will be used to the betterment of everybody. At some point there might be groups who need them more than other groups, but, overall, the management will continue to be excellent, and we can trust in that.”

‘The Best Decision I Ever Made’

Lusk – who has taught at a variety of other schools both overseas and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business – said coming to SUNY Plattsburgh was “the best decision I ever made.”

“The class sizes are the smallest I've ever seen. Tuition is very low and competitive with any place in the world. The teaching faculty teach, and the research faculty teach. … I know all my students by first name. … I feel like a more successful teacher because I have a better understanding of what the students are doing.

“Why everybody in the world doesn't want to teach here, I don't understand. This is the best educational bargain in the world – without a question. When you have senior faculty teaching all of the courses, the tuition and class size – show me where you can beat that.”

Providing Financial Aid for Students

In keeping with the rest of the funds raised under the Bright with Promise Campaign, the college intends to use most of the gift to help students afford the cost of college.

About 90 percent will go to student financial aid with around 10 percent going toward academic needs, said Anne Hansen, the college’s vice president for institutional advancement.

“The generosity of Ed and his sister will have an immediate impact on our students. In addition, we intend to leverage this gift,” said Hansen, who added that the gift will be used as a challenge to others in order to raise an additional $500,000 in unrestricted support.

This $250,000 unrestricted gift comes on the heels of another fundraising first at the college: This summer, alumnus Larry Unrein and his wife, Eileen, pledged the largest gift ever made to the college’s endowment by a graduate during his or her lifetime. Over the next five years, the couple will donate a total of $250,000, with the bulk of the money going toward the Unrein Family Endowed Scholarship and the Unrein Family Endowed Nursing Scholarship.

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