Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State Foundation receives gift of $350,000 to fund four-year tuition scholarships for Springfield Public School graduates

Second gift of $25,000 annually will support a graduate internship and library resources

The Westfield State Foundation, the philanthropic partner of Westfield State University, recently received a pair of donations from alumni to support scholarships and a graduate internship. Cosmos Avato ’50 and Lawrence Gwozdz ’69 have made separate, impactful gifts to support specific interests at Westfield State University.

The first is a gift in excess of $350,000 that was received from the family of alumnus Cosmos Avato ’50 to establish scholarships for graduates of Springfield Public Schools. A second gift has been received as a ‘virtual’ endowment of $25,000 annually from alumnus Lawrence Gwozdz ’69 to support a graduate internship and provide additional resources to the University’s Academic Information Services.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Avato family and to Lawrence Gwozdz for their generosity,” said Dr. Erica Broman, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Westfield State University and executive director of the Westfield State Foundation. “These funds will help enhance our students’ learning experience and reinforce our commitment to student success.”

Gift of $350,000 to establish Cosmos Avato Scholarship for Education
The Cosmos Avato Scholarship for Education will fund four-year tuition scholarships for Springfield Public School graduates attending Westfield State University and majoring in education. In addition, it will also help to cover the cost of teaching licensure and will seek to benefit students participating in the University’s Reach to Teach program, which promotes Springfield students of color to pursue education careers in the Springfield Public Schools.

According to Dr. Broman, the Cosmo Avato Fund for Education will have a transformative impact for the many students from Springfield who attend Westfield State. “The ability to use this gift to assist the University’s growing Reach to Teach program will impact education majors and Springfield Public School students for years to come,” she said.

After earning his degree from Westfield State, Avato earned a doctorate from Columbia University before devoting his life to students in the Springfield Public Schools, where he spent his career.

Virtual endowment of $25,000 annually to support graduate internship
According to Dr. Broman, the Gwozdz gift significantly enhances our library resources, permits the establishment of an institutional repository, and assists the Massachusetts Historical Journal to expand its reach.

“These funds will support a graduate internship for the Massachusetts Historical Journal and bring additional resources to the University’s Ely Library, including an institutional repository,” said Dr. Broman. Gwozdz intends to fund this initiative until his passing. He has also designated the University as the recipient of his estate.

“Both of these charitable gifts are providing important momentum to reshape the culture of philanthropy at Westfield State,” said Dr. Broman. “Donations of this magnitude from our committed alumni help the university celebrate our legacy while strengthening our future.”  

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