Richard Grefrath (WSC '68), one of our most Loyal donors, has been supporting scholarships for over a decade. He continues to give back to his alma mater to show his appreciation for an experience that culitvated his future career.
"NYU has been huge for me. I transferred from Carnegie-Mellon University, where I had been an engineering/mathematics major, but ultimately realized I was an English major at heart. The brilliance of the NYU faculty and the stimulating, challenging coursework in the arts and humanities fulfilled my dreams; actually living in historic Greenwich village resulted in a glorious panorama of urban adventures. I continue to support NYU in gratitude for its major role in forming my intellect and sensibility."
After graduating from NYU, Richard was drafted into the Army 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. Upon return, he earned his M.A. in English and M.L.S. in Library Science, which launched his career as a Reference Librarian. His first position was at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. In 1978, he joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno and retired in 2006. Now in his days of retirement, he enjoys his time by continuing research at the University of Nevada, Reno, travelling with family, and spending time with his lovely wife, Tina.
Peggy Cash graduated from NYU fulfilling her parents' dream for her to be the first in their family to attend college. To escape segregation in Tennessee, her parents moved to Newark when she was 3. NYU opened the world around her, thanks to the friendships she made during her time as a student. "My early childhood education major had 11 girls, and I was the only African-American and I felt totally accepted," she says.
NYU allowed Peggy to flourish and achieve dreams beyond just fulfilling her parents wishes. After graduating in 1961, she spent the next summer studying in the Netherlands in an international exchange program. She was then involved with an African scholarship program of American Universities, running summer orientation for African students coming to the U.S., followed by American Field Service work.
Now, after many years of teaching, Peggy extends her generosity by establishing a scholarship at NYU to honor the memory of her parents, the path they inspired for her to take, and to extend their influence to a new generation. Thinking of future students, Peggy says, "I want their world to be as open as mine was."
Tori Spainhour graduated cum laude from the Gallatin School in 2017. She understands firsthand the significance of financial support, as she was also a scholarship recipient during her time at NYU. Coming to college from the foster care system, she heavily relied on financial aid to complete her academic career.
"As an alumna of NYU, I cannot begin to stress the importance of giving back. I wouldn't have been able to graduate without the generous gifts made by my fellow NYU alum."
"I give back to make sure that no prospective student is put in a position where they have to turn down their dream education; everyone deserves a chance to shoot for the stars, regardless of their personal and financial background."
While a student, she worked at the NYU Phonathon as a caller and manager, personally raising $200k for student scholarships. As someone who's seen all facts of giving at NYU, Tori is a shining example of philanthropy, full circle. She now works at Pace University where she manages their Enrollment Management Call Center.
Howard Friedman (WSC '70, GSAS '72, '76), one of our most Loyal donors, has been supporting scholarships for over 30 years. NYU is one of his most treasured memories which continues to drive his daily regard and gratefulness for his time as a student. He attended NYU for 10 consecutive years, earning his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in Chemistry. As one of the first WSC graduates to attend the Heights campus, he was able to experience the two different campuses—the Square, which he describes as the "bustling cosmopolitan center where everything was happening," and the Heights, which was "bucolic, slower, quieter and calm." "It was the best of both worlds," Howard says.
Howard vividly remembers his time at NYU—when tuition was just $948 a semester, when grades were posted by social security number, and when there were elevator operators. He recalls writing his 300-page dissertation on a typewriter and sending it via post to his advisor. He was part of NYU's radio station and was a teaching assistant in the Chemistry lab, where he met his wife Lori (HEIGHTS '74).
The memories of NYU brings Howard a sense of excitement and appreciation for a time that empowered and altered his experience as a young adult, and one that shaped his path and relationships. "It was the first place where I felt I was a big person—where I was appreciated by the faculty and I felt like I was a part of them, not treated like a number."