Advancing Sage

Thank you for your support!

The Sage Colleges 2017-18 Donor Report gratefully acknowledges the 3,005 alumni, parents and friends who contributed to the Colleges’ mission between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. The highlights that follow are but a few examples of the ways donors help Sage prepare students for a successful future. Thank you for your continued involvement in sustaining the Sage experience. 

View the Report of Appreciation here.


A few of the year’s highlights include:

  • Grand total of $2,000,526 raised from 2,809 donors!
  • 127 1st time donors.
  • 60 matching gifts totaling $56,060 from 19 matching gift companies.
  • $125,625 raised from 402 donors during the $101K in a Day Challenge including $24,500 for Corporate Connections Scholarships.
  • $32,000 raised during Giving Tuesday and Two for Tuesday initiatives.
  • The 5th annual Mascot Madness Challenge was won by the Purple Cows!
  • $92,250 raised for Corporate Connections Scholarships. 

Each year, alumni and friends give to the Annual Fund. Your support of The Sage Fund for Excellence allows over 95% of Sage students to receive scholarships and financial aid. It provides faculty and staff with the resources and technology needed to deliver a top-notch education to our students. Your support allows Sage students to be a name in a classroom rather than a number, and receive the 1:1 personal attention that will allow them to succeed. It enables Sage to welcome students from Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, China, India, Jamaica, Korea, Nepal, Norway, Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda and Vietnam, and maintain and renovate over 50 buildings between our two campuses.

With your help and generosity, this marks the ninth year in a row The Sage Fund for Excellence has raised more than $1 million.

You Make a Difference!

We are grateful for every annual fund donor who gave to The Sage Fund for Excellence. Our success would not have been possible without you.

On behalf of our students, thank you for your generous participation in The Sage Fund for Excellence. 


In addition to Annual Fund gifts, Sage relies on Leadership Gifts (generally gifts of $25,000 or more) to fulfill its important mission, and attract talented students and faculty. Giving at the leadership level opens doors of opportunity for both current and future students. Whether for academics, research, campus improvements, or the arts or athletics, Leadership Gifts ensure students are on a path to success.

In the 2018 fiscal year, generous alumni and friends of the College contributed $3,222,565 in restricted and endowed Leadership Gifts, allowing Sage to move forward on many fronts.  Of that figure, $460,000 was committed via estate and planned gifts.  Planned gifts help ensure Sage’s tradition of excellence into the future.



A significant Leadership Gift from the Renaissance Corporation has allowed Sage to begin an Albany campus “facelift”.  To-date, we have installed new landscaping; we have purchased a new sound system and additional tables and chairs for the Armory drill shed for special events; and we are replacing the porch columns on our beautiful and historic buildings throughout the campus.


Commuter students currently make up nearly 50% of our student body. Sage is committed to providing these students with a space where they can enjoy the same social and campus life opportunities as resident students, continuing a tradition for “day students” originating in the 1930s.

Over the past year, Sage was fortunate to have “day student” Christine Collard Devereaux ’56 spearhead a fundraising effort near and dear to her heart.  Up until her recent passing, Christine worked with our staff to raise the necessary funds to renovate an entire floor of VanDerheyden Hall into a functional, inviting and useful space for our commuters to call home.

“We are, and now we know, so we are ready to DO!” wrote Chris, to classmates and alumni to lend their support. The $100,000 goal was reached shortly before Chris’ passing. This fall, commuter students will fulfill Chris’ dream of being able to come together “to study, to relax between classes, and to build friendships – just as we did over fifty years ago,” in the newly renovated commuter hall.


Field Hockey has returned to Sage and Men’s Lacrosse was added for the first time.  With funding from several generous donors, a Lacrosse coach was hired and a new team recruited to start play in 2019.  Sage alumnae contributed team uniforms and equipment to the Field Hockey team, helping to launch the team last September. The inaugural season resulted in two student athletes being honored: midfielder Cortney Conley was named to the Empire 8 Honorable Mention for her play on the field, while back Brooke Perry was named to the 2018 Empire 8 Field Hockey Sportswomen Team.  Under the guidance of head coach Gillian McDonald, Sage posted a record of 4-13. For the season, Sage had two shutouts with 24 goals and 3.303 goals allowed average.  “Sage’s Division III athletic programs are a vital part of the overall student experience. The women’s field hockey will add to our robust athletic offerings and contribute to our vibrant campus life,” said Trish Cellemme, Vice President for Student Life.  Donations go a long way in helping our students enjoy a well-rounded college experience.


In addition to establishing an endowed fund to support the Opalka Gallery, Trustee Chet Opalka and his wife Karen provided a Leadership Gift to bring modern and contemporary art and design from nationally recognized artists to the prestigious gallery. An important part of the cultural life in the Capital Region, the Opalka frequently hosts lectures, films, concerts, and other events in conjunction with its exhibitions.



Irmy Kauppert RSC 56 Endowed Scholarship Fund – Established by Irmy Kauppert Engelson RSC ’56 to assist Russell Sage College students.

Kathleen E. Lazarou, RSC 70 and John T. Adams Endowed Scholarship – Established through a planned gift, this scholarship fund, when realized, will provide tuition assistance to female students with first preference to those studying History, or Public Affairs and Public Policy, or Law and Society, with second preference students in the Liberal Arts. 

Douglas and Tedi Kurtz Mitchell RSC 59 Endowed Scholarship Fund – Established by Douglas and Tedi Mitchell, this scholarship will provide immediate tuition assistance to female students with first preference to those studying History, or Public Affairs and Public Policy, or Law and Society, with second preference to students in the Liberal Arts. 

The Opalka Gallery Endowed Fund – Established by Trustee Chet Opalka and his wife Karen, this fund provides on-going support for the Opalka Gallery to continue to feature contemporary art and design from nationally recognized artists, and to host lectures, films, concerts, and other events in conjunction with its exhibitions.

Sylvia A. Saarnijoki RSC ’47 Endowed Scholarship Fund – Established in her memory by Sylvia’s nieces, Linda Saarnijoki and Gretchen Toles, this fund will provide scholarship support for “1st generation” college students in applied biology as first preference, or nursing or medical/health sciences.

Vagarshag John Sarkissian and Lucille Gochigian Sarkissian SCA 79, 83 Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund in the Humanities – Established by Lucille Sarkissian in memory of her husband John, this fund provides financial assistance to students studying in the humanities.



2nd Century Scholarship Program
The 2nd Century Scholarship Program is our newest initiative to invest in student success. A gift of $2,000 or more provides an annual scholarship to a qualified student in need.  We are proud to report that this past year, thirty-three donors participated in the 2nd Century Scholarship Program, and we awarded forty-three scholarships, totaling over $88,000.

President’s Discretionary Fund
Over $21,000 was raised for the President’s Discretionary Fund.

Theatre Institute at Sage
$11,375 was raised for the Theatre Institute at Sage allowing them to continue to fulfill their mission of providing Capital Region residents, teachers, and students with quality live theatre and arts-in-education opportunities.

Tribute Garden
$10,000 in gifts were received to honor loved ones with plaques in the Tribute Garden on the Troy campus. 

Julia O. Wells Memorial Educational Foundation Scholarship
Additional scholarship support was provided by the Julia O. Wells Memorial Educational Foundation. 


Richard T. and Ada Pangburn Youngs Scholarship Fund
Janet Meleney RSC ’68 

The Buchman Foundation Fund in memory of Louis and Natalie Buchman, RSC ’64
The Buchman Foundation, Inc. 

CDPHP Endowed Fund for the Health Sciences

Lisa V. Carl Library Archive Fund
Lisa V. Carl RSC ’78

Roxanne Hosier Drnevich 62 Endowed Scholarship Fund for the Sciences
Vincent and Roxanne Hosier Drnevich RSC ’62

Gicca-Coomes Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund
Francis and Joan Coomes Gicca RSC ’54

Kathryn Gale Award in Music Fund
Jane Gale RSC ’48*

Sally Lawrence Endowed Scholarship Fund
Sally Lawrence

Marion Rockwell C. Mason Scholarship Fund
Marion Rockwell C. Mason FD UA

David and Carol Sweet Morse RSC 1966 Unrestricted Endowed Fund
David* and Carol Sweet Morse RSC ’66

Sheila Sutland Pakula RSC 56 Scholarship Fund
Lawrence Pakula

Kimberly Peregrim RSC 1993 Endowed Scholarship Fund
Kimberly Peregrim RSC ’93

Marcia Luloff Sabesin RSC 1956 Endowed Scholarship Fund
Marcia Luloff Sabesin RSC ’56 

Lisa Schieffelin RSC 85 and Andrew Svarre Last Mile Scholarship
Lisa Schieffelin RSC ’85 and Andrew Svarre

Aggie Stillman Memorial Scholarship Fund
Jane Wardwell Roberts RSC ’50*

Unrestricted Endowed Fund
Alexander and Elizabeth Campbell Young RSC ’58


Sage Ring Legacy Society
The Sage Ring Legacy Society honors those who have notified Sage of their future gift intentions through a provision in their wills, estates or other financial plans.  We are grateful to Sage Ring members for their foresight and generosity to build a strong future.

Legacies Fulfilled 

Dorothy Irish Beall, RSC ‘43*#+
Mary Sgalio Beetz, RSC ‘52*+
Doris Charter, RSC ‘52*#+
Mary Lou Cronin, RSC ’53, SGS ’66*#+
Jane Gale, RSC ‘48*#+~
Elizabeth Ward Harrison, RSC ‘50*#+
Ruth Rounds Hutson, RSC ‘42*#+
Sheila Sutland Pakula, RSC ‘56* +~
June Price, RSC ‘43*+
Jane Wardwell Roberts, RSC ‘50*#+~
Sylvia Saarnijoki, RSC ‘47*#+
Ferne Kohlman Tedeschi, RSC ‘56*+
Susan Noack Then, RSC ‘69* +~
Cynthia Harwood Wetjen, RSC*57+~ 

The Office of Corporate, Government and Foundation Relations (OCGFR) builds relationships with foundations, businesses, government agencies and elected officials, and secures grants that fund scholarships, fellowships, events, research, programs and campus renovations projects.

Corporate Relations

The Sage Colleges continues to build relationships with corporate partners.  Corporate sponsorships provide funding for student scholarships, scholar-athletes via the Gator Golf Classic, and educational and community events such as Sage’s annual Nutrition Lecture.  

The Corporate Connections Scholarship Program, which provides debt relief to students entering their final year of study, presented 111 scholarships to outstanding students from the Capital Region. Since the program’s creation, over $1.3 million in scholarships have been awarded to more than one thousand exceptional Sage students. Over the past decade, Corporate Connections has tripled in size, which is a testament to the program’s overall success and need in the Capital Region. Corporate Connections partners included longtime supporters, Sodexo Education, M&T Bank, Stewart’s Shops, Crisafulli Bros., Sano-Rubin Construction, Maggs & Associates and Toshiba Business Solutions. New sponsors included Tri-City Rentals, Total Events, CAP COM Federal Credit Union, National Grid, Freihofer’s Run for Women, Adirondack Health & Wellness and a number of other generous contributors. We are excited to continue to grow the number of Corporate Connections partners engaged in this unique student debt relief program.

The OCGFR also obtained corporate sponsors for the Theatre Institute at Sage and the Opalka Gallery for their ongoing seasons.  Sponsors included the Renaissance Corporation of Albany, PepsiCo, Sherwin Williams, Acme Wood Floors, and BBL Companies, among others. We are truly grateful for all of our returning and new corporate sponsors. 

Government Relations

The OCGFR continued to build and maintain relationships with elected officials throughout the year, and actively participated in advocacy efforts through membership in the Council for Independent Colleges. 

In September, the OCGFR and several Sage students from the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) program met with NYS legislative representatives to discuss and advocate for the importance of student aid funding. During the meeting, students shared personal stories about the value of student aid and opportunity programs like HEOP, Bundy Aid, the Science and Technology Entry programs (STEP/C-STEP), the Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

Foundation Relations

Throughout 2017-2018, the OCGFR worked with a number of foundations to bring additional support to Sage students, programs and capital projects. A grant from the Renaissance Corporation of Albany established a fund to renovate the dormitories on the Albany campus. A grant from the Lucille A. Herold Trust provided funds for equipment and technology upgrades for a new commuter hall on the Troy campus, which will be open for students in the fall of 2019. The Julia O. Wells Memorial Education Foundation continued its support by granting scholarship funds, which help recruit and retain talented Nursing students. The A. Lindsay & Olive B. O’Connor Foundation provided scholarship funds for Sage students from Delaware County. Grants from Discover Albany and the International Fine Print Dealers Association provided funds to support the ongoing season at the Opalka Gallery. The Cleveland Foundation, Cohoes Savings Foundation, Irene B. Miller Foundation, the MVMA Foundation, Hudson River Bank Trust Co. Foundation and other foundation partners continued to support Sage.