Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Long Island Panhellenic Fosters Dreams Through Scholarship Endowments

As a young girl from Franklin, Indiana, Judith Wasilchuk dreamt of becoming a doctor. She began her pre-medical school concentration as an undergraduate, but her parents informed her that since there were three children in the family to send to college, medical school was out of the picture. A resourceful woman, Wasilchuk redirected her attention to other majors, including economics, biology, and French, the former of which led to her position as an auditor in a bank.

Currently an associate broker of the Brookville, NY, branch of the real estate company Century 21 Laffey Associates, Ms. Wasilchuk is an intrepid spirit who was not afraid to make several career changes. After she married and moved to New York, she held a position as a substitute teacher for biology, microbiology, chemistry, botany, and the occasional French course at Roslyn High School in Roslyn Heights, for two years. She then moved on to become a veterinarian’s assistant in Oyster Bay, and was a founding mother of the Oyster Bay Cooperative Preschool in 1979, where she taught 3- and 4-year-olds science and served as volunteer director until 1989. Ms. Wasilchuk has also served as a member, president, and vice president of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District Board of Education for the past 17 years.

Ms. Wasilchuk is deeply immersed in the social life of the Oyster Bay community. She currently serves as Oyster Festival co-chair for the Rotary Club of Oyster Bay, a service organization and as a member on the board of corporate trustees for the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum. She joined the latter because of her father’s model railroad and the train trips she took to see her grandparents which helped instill her love of trains.

In 1977, Ms. Wasilchuk joined Long Island Panhellenic, a fundraising association that raises money for college scholarships. A member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, she is enthusiastic about philanthropic projects and the positive effect of endowments on one’s education.

“All the women I’ve met [at L.I. Panhellenic] are wonderful women,” Ms. Wasilchuk said. “We used to do huge fundraisers, but we don’t anymore.” She explained that a member of the association donated a large gift to Long Island Panhellenic in her will. “After we received the donation, we didn’t have the incentive to organize huge fundraisers,” she said.

Adelphi University brought together scholarship donors and their recipients for its Annual Scholarship Reception in the Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom of the Ruth S. Harley University Center in Garden City, on Monday, April 27. Benefactors spoke about their reasons for giving, while students and alumni exhibited their gratitude for receiving a private college education due to the scholarships they were awarded at Adelphi.

Among other scholarships, the event celebrated the Long Island Panhellenic Scholarship Fund in memory of Rowena Caine and Rosemary Cunnion established in 2005 at Adelphi University. The endowment provides two annual $1,000 scholarships to incoming freshman females from Long Island, throughout their four years spent at the university.

Since 2005, seven Adelphi students received the scholarship. This year, nursing majors Jennifer Joseph ’12 and Alyssa Napolitano ’12 were the recipients. “It’s beneficial and it gives many opportunities,” said Ms. Joseph, a diligent student with a 3.9 GPA.

A Mineola native, Ms. Napolitano appreciates the endowment because it allowed her to be involved in campus activities and better understand her future career. “The L.I. Panhellenic Scholarship I received is beneficial to my education and the fulfillment of my career goals because it has allowed me to open doors that I was financially not able to open,” she said.

Long Island Panhellenic was founded in April 1933 by three sorority members, Mrs. John A. Davis of Alpha Delta Pi, Mrs. Harold Battin of Chi Omega, and Mrs. Loyal G. Kochey of Alpha Delta Pi. The inaugural meeting was held in Garden City, NY, in September of that year, with nearly 15 representatives of National Panhellenic fraternities attending the event. Two years later, the association started a scholastic fund consisting of an annual award of $100 to an eligible woman attending a college on Long Island. The grant eventually increased in amount and extended its scope beyond the suburbs of New York City, according to the Long Island Panhellenic Yearbook.

Ms. Wasilchuk believes it is important to raise awareness about the association’s fundraising activities and the scholarships they provide.

“If people know about our contributions, they will find out about the scholarship,” she said.