Paterson plans Flight 3407 scholarships
“Although we have lost some of our most beloved neighbors, we will continue in our ability to help their families.”
David A. Paterson made his first visit to UB as New York’s governor yesterday to announce he is proposing a scholarship fund to benefit the children and financial dependents of the 50 victims of the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center on Feb. 12.
The Flight 3407 Memorial Scholarship would cover costs for up to four years of undergraduate study at a SUNY or CUNY school, or an amount up to that level at a private college or university in New York State.
Paterson said that in addition to the victims of the tragedy, the fund will honor the police, fire, safety, health and other officials and volunteers—some of whom were present for the announcement—who responded to the crash and provided support to the families of the victims, as well as residents of Clarence Center and the larger community.
“Although we have lost some of our most beloved neighbors, we will continue in our ability to help their families,” he added.
The governor said the idea for the fund surfaced in discussions during the recent UB Day in Albany where he learned of the impact of the crash on the UB community. Among the victims of the crash of Continental Flight 3407 were 12 with known connections to UB as family members of faculty and staff, parents of students and alumni. Paterson said he consulted with Assembly and Senate leaders before announcing the proposal, modeled after the New York State World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship established in 2002.
The governor was introduced by President John B. Simpson, who thanked the governor for the leadership, compassion and support he has shown in the aftermath of the crash and in proposing the scholarship fund. The response to the tragedy, Simpson added, demonstrated “the strength and resiliency of the community.”
Simpson read a statement from Nancy L. Zimpher, SUNY chancellor-elect. Noting that “SUNY stands with the Western New York community in supporting all those impacted by that devastating event,” Zimpher, too, thanked Paterson for his leadership in creating the scholarship fund.
Also making comments were Erie County Executive Chris Collins and UB alumnus Scott Bylewski, supervisor of the Town of Clarence. Among the representatives of other higher education institutions in Western New York present for the announcement was President Jack Quinn of Erie Community College.