Alumna makes $2 million donation for scholarships

Last year, the estate of Patricia O’Callaghan contributed a generous donation in memory of O’Callaghan’s brother, Tim. Her will noted a wish to donate to the university.

Patricia and Tim O’Callaghan, both were teachers who never married and both graduated from Seton Hall. Ms. O’Callaghan graduated in 1953 and Mr. O’Callaghan graduated in 1951.

Senior director of Principal Gifts and Gift-Planning Joe Guasconi explained the uniqueness of the donation and the way that Ms. O’Callaghan intended it to be used.

“This kind of donation is very unique. We were not aware of Ms. O’Callaghan’s generosity,” he said. “We had been made aware of it after she passed away. It was presented to us for the will to be shared and the amount of it specified in the will was with very clear attention that the $2 million was to be used for scholarships.”

He added, “The amount of money has significant impact and we’re able to even establish endowed scholarships.”

Based upon where Mr. and Ms. O’Callaghan had their areas of interest, the University established scholarships for particular schools.

“We decided to distribute the donation among the Schools of Medicine and Law and the College of Education and Human Services considering Mr. and Ms. O’Callaghan’s work as educators,” Guasconi said.

Each school anticipates that the donation will bring incredible opportunities of scholarship to Seton Hall students.

Dr. Maureen Gillette, dean of Education and Human Services, expresses her gratitude for the donation and mentioned what she sees in the future for the College of Education and Human Services with the help of it.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Demytrk

“We (the CEHS faculty and staff) are so grateful for the gift of scholarships provided by the estate of Ms. O’Callaghan,” she said by email. “It is so gratifying to know that someone recognized the importance of supporting students who want a career in education. This gift will help us immensely in reaching one of the goals of our strategic plan, recruiting and supporting a diverse cadre of prospective teachers.”

She explained that the scholarship will strengthen the partnership the school has recently forged with “Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers”. Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers is a program that focuses on giving students who are minorities that aspire to be teachers the opportunity to attend Seton Hall’s education programs.

“We have just entered into a partnership with ‘Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers,’” Gillette explained. “The scholarship money will help us in ensuring that we can fulfill our commitment to bring some of their talented students to Seton Hall.”

Keith W. Cook, dean for Alumni and Development on campus and at the Seton Hall School of Law, oversees charitable donations to the school. He explained in an email how he thinks the School of Law will be impacted by the donation.

“This is an amazing gift to both the University and the law school,” Cook wrote in an email. “This family, with a few short words in their will, ‘I give to Seton Hall’ has been able to forever change the course of history for students seeking a world class education.”

He emphasized the financial gain that future students will accomplish with the scholarship.

“Scholarship endowments allow us to securely know that resources will able available each year, and provide the power to recruit and retain the best and brightest as well as commit to those with need,” he said. “With the changing economics of education, private philanthropy will continue to grow in importance as a means to offset costs to students grow and enrich programs and offerings.”

“All of Seton Hall will be forever grateful for this gift,” he added.

According to Founding Dean of the Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine Dr. Bonita Stanton, the donation could ultimately help the United States health care system.

“We are so appreciative of the gift from Patricia O’Callaghan and the rest of her family,” Stanton wrote in an email. “The U.S. health care system has many strengths—amazing technology, tremendous research productivity enabling the profession to push the frontiers of discovery, and time-honored traditions of beneficence to name but a few. Despite these many strengths, our health care outcomes as a nation are distressing; arguably the US houses the most expensive health care system per capita in the world but continues to produce disappointing outcomes compared to many or most of the other industrialized nations.”

Stanton wants to give young people the opportunity to become physicians that bring positive changes to the medical field.

“Many factors contribute to these expensive but poor outcomes including a lack of representation of the sub-populations experiencing the poor outcomes within the medical profession,” Stanton said. “We intend that the physicians we graduate will work with other health, policy and community professionals to change the course of health outcomes in the USA –and do so at lower cost. We wish to attract and support the very best students who share this vision for their careers; through such scholarships as that from Ms. O’Callaghan, these remarkable young women and men will be able to enroll in our medical school and bring this aspiration to a reality.”

Guasconi stressed the positive legacy of the gift.

“Students for years ahead will benefit from the donation,” he said.

Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at

Author: Kaitlyn Quinn

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