Newsletter Nov 2020

Greetings from the Kean University Foundation!


We are excited to share with you the Fall 2020 Edition of our e-Newsletter. In keeping with previous publications, this e-newsletter is sent out quarterly to friends and members of the Kean Community, alike, including content related to the many ways we can all support Kean University, as well as options available for making a gift to the Foundation. We look forward to keeping you updated on the Foundation's activities, as well as the tremendous impact from its valued supporters!


DONOR SPOTLIGHT: Barbara '60 and Paul Wyciskala

“Barbara received a wonderful education at Kean.
An endowed scholarship is a great way to give back!”

- Paul Wyciskala

Barbara Wyciskala hails from Belleville, New Jersey. In 1960, she graduated from (what was then) Newark State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, effectively putting her on the path towards a career in teaching. As graduation approached, little did Barbara know that she was on the precipice of meeting someone who would change the course of her life! It seems her brother-in-law, an accountant, had a colleague whom he regarded highly; so much so, in fact, that he facilitated a “date” between Barbara and Paul Wyciskala, a gentleman from the distant locale of Bismarck, North Dakota.

Their first date, Barbara recalled fondly, was quite memorable – not necessarily because Paul took her to dine at the iconic Manhattan landmark, The Rainbow Room, but because he did not have a car! In a lovely display of chivalry you don’t often see in today’s modern world, Paul took the bus from New York City and picked up Barbara in Belleville, only to repeat the process upon the conclusion of their evening when he brought her home – eventually returning to his apartment in the city at 3:00 am! From that moment on, according to Barbara, it was history! She and Paul were married and made their home in Cranford, New Jersey. Barbara taught 6th grade in Belleville for a brief period of time before her teaching days ended in lieu of becoming a full-time mother to their three children.

When her children had grown a bit older, and all were enrolled in school, Barbara embarked on her second career as a Real Estate agent. Much to her delight, she found herself to have quite the prowess in the field and, over the course of the next 12 years, went on to sell many homes in the Westfield, Scotch Plains, and Cranford areas of New Jersey.

The memories Barbara made while attending Newark State College, and the warmth she continued to feel towards her alma mater following her graduation, remained a source of joy for years to come. Around the same time her graduating class of 1960 was preparing to celebrate its 25th reunion, Barbara decided to affirm her love of Kean by making a gift and was intricate in the establishment of the Class of 1960 Endowed Scholarship. In addition to her class involvement, Barbara was also a member of the Kean University Alumni Association Board. She adored spending time with her fellow Kean alumni and recalled with fondness one event she helped organize, in particular, which took place at the Barnum Museum located in Sarasota, Florida.

As both their careers wound down, Barbara and Paul made the decision to relocate and retired to the southern town of Manchester, New Jersey. Once settled, while Barbara found herself somewhat removed, albeit physically, from her attachment to Kean, her commitment to the University never wavered. Barbara eventually had a fortuitous meeting with someone from Kean who presented her with an opportunity to once again express her dedication through philanthropy. This time, however, her gift would be a direct reflection of her own personal feelings and wishes, and not necessarily those of the entire graduating Class of 1960. Barbara remarked, “I wanted to do something for a while; something in my own name. Of course, my husband supported me in this decision and, after some discussion and thought, Paul and I determined an endowed scholarship seemed the best way.” Ultimately, the pair established the Barbara and Paul Wyciskala Endowed Scholarship for the purpose of providing financial support to full-time Kean University students in either their junior or senior years of study who are pursuing degrees within the College of Business and Public Management, with preference given to those students who are the first generation within their families to attend an institute of higher education.


When asked, Paul shared his feelings regarding this wonderful manner in which to offer support, stating, “I was so supportive of the idea because Barbara received such a wonderful education at Kean. It is a great way to give back!”

For more information regarding how to establish an endowed scholarship, please contact
James Gurland, Chief Development Officer, via email: or phone: (908) 316-8924.


A Message from Bill Miller, Chief Executive Officer

Bill Miller

Dear Kean Alumni and Friends,

Although there is a certain melancholy associated with the change of seasons, as summer turns to fall, and fall fades into winter, it is also accompanied by a sense of peace, introspection, and gratitude.

As the Kean University Foundation reflects on the past calendar year, we – and our donors – can be proud of our accomplishments:

  • Our latest fiscal year’s fundraising total of approximately $9,180,000 reflects an 84% increase over the last decade’s average amount donated;
  • The Kean University Foundation awarded nearly $600,000 in scholarship support last academic year;
  • The average gift of $7,006 is well above the industry standard of $516; and
  • Our main endowment has returned an annualized +7.8% since inception.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the generosity of you, our donors. Your contributions allow us to invest in our students, our faculty, exciting research initiatives, and our campus facilities.

Your trust in the Kean University Foundation to be responsible stewards of your financial gifts encourages corporate and foundation partners to also get involved, and we are grateful for everyone’s support.

As you reflect on the past calendar year and look forward to the new, we hope you will remember the Kean University Foundation in your year-end giving. We not only count on you; we also count you among our many blessings.

Happy holidays to you and yours.


Philanthropists Dr. W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher Continue Their Support of Kean

Wherever you roam on the Kean University campus, whether you are traveling by foot, bicycle, or vehicle, it is hard not to notice either the name ‘Bauer’ or the name ‘Boucher’. Indeed, retired professor Dr. W. John Bauer, who taught within the Kean University School of English Studies, and his sister, Nancy Boucher, are no strangers to the impact of philanthropy at Kean University. Whether it is their endowed scholarships, which support students enrolled in Kean’s School of English Studies and College of Education, or their devotion to live theater on campus, John and Nancy have been steadfast in their dedication to the arts and humanities.

Nearly three years ago, John and Nancy solidified their philanthropic legacy at Kean with their joint gift to establish the Bauer-Boucher Theatre Center, thus enabling Premiere Stages at Kean University to maintain its status as a vibrant presence within the mosaic that comprises New Jersey’s cultural landscape. However, the pair’s generosity towards Premiere Stages did not end there. Most recently, John and Nancy made another significant gift to provide financial support for the construction of an ADA-compliant bathroom within the Bauer-Boucher Theater Center, including the renovation of the theater’s backstage dressing room areas, thereby enhancing the Center’s accessibility for artists, students, and patrons with disabilities.

During a recent conversation, John and Nancy spoke to the evolution of their philanthropy, as well as the reasons behind their continued support of Premiere Stages at Kean University only three years after having made their historic gift establishing the Bauer-Boucher Theatre Center. The brother-and-sister duo stated the inspiration behind their philanthropy harkens back to a time earlier in their lives, when both were obtaining their own respective educations. They were the beneficiaries of donor generosity and wanted to give back in a similar fashion.

John and Nancy were quite influenced by their parents, who were very active in the arts and imparted this involvement to their children. The pair grew up in an educational environment, often visiting museums with their parents and attending concerts and plays. John carried on this passion for the arts, occasionally frequenting the Paper Mill Playhouse, located in Millburn, New Jersey, and inviting actors home for dinner to learn more about their craft.

With backgrounds having personally benefitted from philanthropy, and an appreciation for the arts instilled within them at early ages, John and Nancy found it only logical to support the ongoing needs of the Bauer-Boucher Theatre Center. They wanted to make acting at Premiere Stages an even more pleasant atmosphere for the cast and crew, and wanted to ensure an enjoyable experience for visitors, as well. Nancy reflected, if she and John had the ability to support other local theaters in their efforts to increase accessibility and create a better space for their actors and patrons, how could they not jump at the opportunity to do the same for Kean?

In reflecting on their lives, thus far, John and Nancy hope their legacy will ultimately prove inspirational to others, motivating them to support their philanthropic passions for years to come.


Jenny Xie: An Amazing Journey

Jian Xie

“I wanted to give back.
It is extraordinary how
a little bit can make
a huge impact.”

Jian “Jenny” Xie joins us from a small, rural town located in the Hunan Province of South Central China. After earning the Chinese equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, she found herself interested in not only learning about life in an open and diverse society, but experiencing it, as well.

In pursuit of that interest, Jenny participated in an exchange teaching program which brought her to the United States and afforded her the opportunity to teach Mandarin at the Unquowa School in Fairfield, Connecticut. While teaching, Jenny grew curious of her new environment and decided to take advantage of her new arrangement by enrolling in a variety of courses at nearby Fairfield University, one of which was a course in accounting. It was this course in accounting, in particular, which proved enlightening for Jenny and prompted her to begin considering different career paths for her future. With thoughts of pursuing a degree in the field of accounting, and perhaps eventually earning a CPA, Jenny soon realized she would need to acquire a certain amount of credits in finance before she would be able to enroll in any graduate program.

With limited resources at her disposal, Jenny began researching relatively inexpensive course offerings within the tri-state area and discovered Ocean County College located in Toms River, New Jersey. She packed her belongings and relocated to Colts Neck, New Jersey, where she quickly immersed herself in accounting and finance studies.

“I was so fortunate and am extremely grateful to the faculty and staff at Ocean County College, as well at Kean Ocean,” said Jenny, “Had it not been for their guidance and support, I never would have been able to enroll at Kean University in Union.”

Upon earning the necessary credits, Jenny enrolled in Kean’s Master of Science program in accounting and commuted from Colts Neck to Union for all of her classes. She was fortunate to secure a Graduate Assistantship and was also the beneficiary of a Kean University Foundation Board Endowed Scholarship, both of which provided enormous financial support and aided Jenny’s ability to supplement the costs of her studies.

Upon graduating in 2014, Jenny secured a position as Senior Auditor with a local accounting firm before moving on to SMBC Nikko Securities America, where she was a Financial and Regulatory Reporting Specialist. Most recently, Jenny’s path has brought her to Goldman Sachs, where she has been a vice president for more than three years.

In reflecting upon her extraordinary journey, Jenny explained why she recently decided to make a donation to Kean University. “I wanted to give back. When I think about where I was five and six years ago, I know what it is like to struggle, and for people who have nothing, just $100 can make a big difference. It is extraordinary how a little bit can make a huge impact, and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to make such an impact. I have Kean to be thankful for. If I did not earn my degree there, I know I would not be where I am today.”


Student Spotlight: Gabrielle Gonzalez

Gabrielle Gonzalez

Gabrielle Gonzalez is currently a junior at Kean, where she is pursuing a major in Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She is also the community service representative for an on-campus organization called Prism, an LGBTQ+ activist and awareness group.

In conjunction with the beginning of the Fall 2019 academic year, Gabrielle was faced with a difficult financial situation which ultimately made it challenging to satisfy her tuition bill for the semester. According to Gabrielle, she was in the middle of a class on meteorology when she was notified she would be receiving financial assistance by way of the Helen Feldman Memorial Fund. Gabrielle could not contain her happiness as she screamed out loud and cried tears of joy the instant she heard, having felt so extremely fortunate. She knew this funding would ease the burden on her parents, who are supporting her dream of earning a college education, and she called them immediately to share the good news! “They were also incredibly happy”, said Gabrielle, “and we could not have been more grateful!”

Everyone’s circumstances are different. In Gabrielle’s case, the scholarship she received via the Helen Feldman Memorial Fund provided her much-needed assistance with tuition payments. Similar funding would benefit other students in the same manner but may also be of assistance where other critical needs are concerned, such as the purchase of textbooks and course-related lab fees. The opportunities made available by the Kean University Foundation will ease the minds of current and future Kean students, alike, as well as their families.

A story like Gabrielle’s is inspiring; it gives other students hope and highlights the supportive nature of the Kean Community and its generous network of alumni; it shows our Kean students we are rooting for their success. The scholarship has already had a lasting impact on Gabrielle. “It has changed my life, and I believe it will do the same for many other students, as well”, she said, “I have never been more excited to learn!”


Kean University Foundation 2020 Fall Semester Internship Program

In conjunction with the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the Kean University Foundation introduced the 2020 Fall Semester Internship Program. This program, designed to offer a significant growth and hands-on learning experience, is geared towards current Kean University students with an interest in philanthropy, nonprofits and nonprofit management, and fundraising.

Those joining the Foundation as interns will be welcomed and onboarded in keeping with best practices, including an overview of the Kean University Foundation, its history, the philanthropic industry, and overall methodologies. All will be given the opportunity to not only observe the inner workings of the Kean University Foundation, but also gain valuable fund development experience by working directly with Foundation staff members. The role of the Kean University Foundation Intern is immersive and will encompass projects spanning administrative assistance and data-driven tasks, development and donor relations, and general matters pertaining to the world of philanthropy. Additional expectations of Foundation interns include participation in strategy and staff meetings, conducting research on financial prospects, and helping draft proposals and other industry-related documents.

At the start of the internship, those selected will work with the Foundation’s senior management to determine a special project or research initiative which will be addressed throughout their engagement. These assignments should be of academic value to each respective intern and, upon completion, will be presented at a meeting of the Kean University Foundation Board of Directors.

Everyone at the Kean University Foundation is excited about this wonderful program and looks forward to welcoming and working with the type of bright, ambitious students which are synonymous with Kean University!


Designating Charities as Beneficiaries
of Your Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Each year, IRAs are subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) and, because the distributions begin at just below 4% at age 72½, and slowly increase, many IRAs earn more than those payouts and will continue to grow.


The IRA is a wonderful benefit and a very good asset during the course of the owner’s life. However, upon the owner’s passing, a traditional IRA is often transferred to their children with a large tax bill attached (with the exception of a Roth IRA, which is not subject to income tax.) Worse yet, the IRA distributions may even push those inheriting children into a higher tax bracket.

With income tax levied on the traditional IRA, while other assets, such as property and stocks, are not subject to income tax, the IRA is a less desirable asset for children. In fact, many heirs consider an IRA to be a “bad asset” due to the income tax associated with payouts.

Charities are tax exempt. As such, there is no payment of income tax or estate tax on a traditional IRA in the event a charity is named beneficiary. The charity receives the full, tax-free value. By designating a charity as beneficiary of an IRA, it is possible to turn a bad asset into a good one!


Questions? Comments? Info?

Kean University Foundation, Inc.
1000 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey 07083
908-316-8920 | 908-316-8921 (Fax) 
Visit Our Website | Privacy Policy | Unsubscribe