In an unprecedented move, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has received the largest gift commitment in its history, a momentous contribution that will shape the institution’s future for generations. Alumnus R. Scott Raspa, from the class of 1986, along with his spouse, John M. Staples, have pledged $4 million to the College’s endowment and a scholarship fund, marking a significant moment in the college’s journey toward educational excellence and stability.
This landmark gift is a part of the College’s ambitious $20 million Taking the LEAD Campaign, launched on September 22, 2023, aiming to bolster its endowment and empower its students. The endowment plays a crucial role in providing financial stability and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of higher education. This generous commitment by Raspa and Staples is set to underpin the college’s efforts to stay relevant and innovative in a dynamic world.
Tuajuanda C. Jordan, Ph.D., president of St. Mary’s College, expressed immense gratitude and excitement over this development. “I am ecstatic that Scott has chosen to leave such a remarkable legacy for his alma mater,” she stated. Jordan highlighted the impact of Raspa’s philanthropy, which began with a significant six-figure leadership gift during the campaign’s quiet phase, setting a strong foundation for future endeavors.
The Taking the LEAD campaign, initiated on July 1, 2020, has already generated crucial funds. These funds are directed towards enhancing the college’s liberal arts education, which focuses on experiential learning – a key differentiator for students in today’s educational landscape. Raspa, reflecting on his college experience and his opportunities, expressed his desire to aid current students in similar ways. “I want to grow the College’s endowment to be my legacy,” said Raspa.
Raspa’s journey from a natural science major at St. Mary’s College to a successful career in the information technology industry is a testament to the transformative power of a well-rounded education. His work spans significant roles at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, and leading companies like IBM, SGI, and Oracle. His retirement in 2015 marked the end of a distinguished career path.
Beyond his financial contributions, Raspa has been actively involved with the SMCM Foundation Board of Directors since September 2020, currently serving as treasurer and as a LEAD Campaign Steering Committee member. Carolyn Curry, executive director of the SMCM Foundation, praised Raspa’s commitment, noting his role in strengthening the College’s alumni relations and partnerships in the IT industry.
Raspa’s connection to St. Mary’s County and the College runs deep. Not only is he a native of the area, but his family ties to the college are noteworthy – he has two alumni siblings and parents who are lifelong educators.
With Raspa’s significant bequest, the Taking the LEAD campaign has raised a remarkable $18.4 million to date, edging closer to its overall goal and ensuring the continued success and advancement of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.