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Stephen Oakes '04

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Belief in the Clarkson Experience
Spring ’08

Even as an undergraduate, Stephen Oakes appreciated the quality and value of a Clarkson education. That’s why he decided to create an endowment that would help sponsor student projects in the School of Business.

Stephen joined Alpha Kappa Psi, the local chapter of a national co-ed business fraternity, in 2003. The fraternity worked closely with faculty in the School of Business, but had little funds available to use as seed grants to support student project ideas. The idea of an endowment was perfect for Stephen. “I really enjoy investing and financial planning. This was a great project to illustrate the wisdom of saving and fiscal restraint, and setting goals and creating a plan to meet those goals,” said Stephen. The project required coordinating the efforts of students, faculty and administrators. Stephen crafted a 5-year plan to raise a $10,000 endowment for Alpha Kappa Psi. “Even though this was something new for Clarkson, the students and faculty embraced the idea, and within two years we had reached one-half of our goal,” said Stephen. The project had the added benefits of making students more financially aware and making them think about the kinds of projects an endowment would eventually support.

Stephen graduated in 2004 and continued making gifts to the endowment. “Yes, I am still paying off college loans, but supporting higher education is a philanthropic priority for me. Clarkson provided more than an education to me. It allowed me to grow, to learn from my mistakes, and to be creative. Who else would embrace the cutting-edge idea of an endowment for a business fraternity? It’s the first one in the nation. The endowment is fully funded now. I feel great about doing it. I’m helping to make a difference for students at Clarkson, and the endowment will always be there to help them.” (rev. 10/09)