Carolee Martelle ’63 ’89 ’97 and scholarship recipient Jillian DiOrio ’19.

Carolee Martelle ’63 ’89 ’97 believes in the power of education and the potential of Stevenson’s students. In 2016 she created an endowed scholarship fund that will assist deserving students in perpetuity. To further ensure her impact into the future, she joined the Great Oaks Society by making provision for the university in her estate planning, strengthening her legacy of giving. Here, Martelle shares her reasons for this dedication.

“I am proud of what Stevenson University has become. It has grown from a two-year, all girls commuter college to a four year university with a diverse student body, offering a multitude of degree programs. In my opinion, sustaining this growth is critical to the university and taking it to the next level. As a result, contributions will play a significant role.

“As a student, I developed a deep appreciation for Stevenson University. The education I received at SU played a major role in my life. As a result, I wanted to share some of my personal success with the university and as they say, ‘pay it forward.’

“Due to the high cost of education, it is becoming prohibitive for some students to pursue their dream of a higher education. Even with help from grants and scholarships, student debt is at an all-time high, making some people question, ‘is it worth it?’ This not only has a direct impact on an individual but also our society. Without young people obtaining a higher education, where will the next innovators, scientists, contributors to society, and leaders come from that are so important? Anyone who has the desire to pursue a higher education should be able to do so without a lifetime of student debt. In essence, it shouldn’t be free, but needs to be affordable.

“I have always believed people should be charitable where they can. In my case, I feel I am helping young people, in some small way, achieve their goals. At the same time, given the opportunity, I would like to think that they will do the same for those who come after them.

“At various Stevenson events, I had the opportunity to talk to many students. While I always found these conversations to be enjoyable and interesting, there were two consistent messages. One, they were very happy to be attending Stevenson and two, they were extremely grateful for the financial assistance they received. In my mind, it was quite clear these students would not be able to pursue a degree or, more importantly, obtain one without financial support.

Philanthropy not only helps the students but also the university in its basic needs. As alumni we should all be willing to give something back to our university. There is no contribution too small.”

For information about the Great Oaks Society and planned giving options, contact Chris Vaughan, Vice President for University Advancement, at or 443-334-2624, or visit