Stonegraber scholarship helps student make career change

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Stonegraber scholarship helps student make career change

Private donations to the university may directly support research, endow a lecture series, create a student scholarship or provide other valuable assistance for any campus priority, according to the donor's wishes.

Thanks to the David P. and Laura C. Stonegraber Scholarship Fund, Barbara Barthel, a sales assistant in a West Coast brokerage firm, was able to make an ambitious career switch at age 35. She wanted to enroll in UB's highly regarded physical therapy program, but needed to ensure a smooth transition for her husband, Tim, and sons Cole, 10, and Conor, 5.

The $1,000 Stonegraber scholarship allowed the couple to send Conor to preschool while Barthel attended classes and her husband worked. This financial assistance helped her maintain a 3.4 grade point average in physical therapy and graduate with distinction in May 1995. She is now assisting stroke patients in the Dominican Rehabilitation Center in Santa Cruz, Calif.

"If it hadn't been for UB and the generosity of the Stonegraber fund," said Barthel, "my options would have been severely limited, and my dream might never have come true."

Dale R. Fish, chair of physical therapy and exercise science, said, "Barbara had a lot to juggle, with two young boys and a 20-credit-per-semester courseload. But she had the drive and initiative to succeed."

Laura Stonegraber was director of occupational therapy at Rochester Psychiatric Center at the time of her retirement in 1959. She created the scholarship endowment fund through a bequest in her will in 1975.