For years, Sandra Klamkin Schocket ’58 had considered endowing a scholarship. It generally was a vague plan, something to be initiated down the road.
What turned someday into now was Lynn Pasquerella ’80, whose journey from a community college in Connecticut to the presidency of Mount Holyoke deeply inspired Schocket. Schocket, who lives in Ohio, attended Pasquerella’s inauguration with her friend Meg Claytor Woodbury ’58, a former president of the Alumnae Association.
“After the ceremony, I introduced myself to Lynn. I told her I was from Meriden, Connecticut, and that I was so impressed by her that I wanted to establish a scholarship for a student from Connecticut.”
Schocket’s ability to make this gift was the result of some nontraditional choices on her own journey. Like many of her classmates, Schocket married within two years of graduation. She then, however, earned a master’s degree in counseling and worked—at first part-time and then full-time—while raising two children.
“I was not popular for doing this,” Schocket said. “Men asked my husband why he let his wife go out to work. This was before daycare as we now know it. It was very difficult but it was something I wanted to do.”
While Schocket’s husband, Jay, supported the family, she saved and invested her earnings. What she never anticipated was losing both her husband, age 59, and her son, Barry, age 30, within a 24-hour period 16 years ago. (Schocket chronicled this ordeal in her book, My Life Closed Twice: Surviving A Double Loss.) “Because of my long career, I was able to support myself and, later on, create this scholarship fund.”
Endowing the scholarship has been meaningful for Schocket, a 2008 recipient of the Alumnae Association’s prestigious Medal of Honor. She values knowing she’s helping someone else gain the independence and confidence that Mount Holyoke offers.
“Mount Holyoke showed me that you can do whatever you set out to achieve. It’s where I learned to negotiate the world,” she said. “I hope this scholarship will help future Mount Holyoke students to realize their dreams, just as Lynn did.”