ST. BONAVENTURE - Hoping to create incentive for talented students to remain in the region and pursue a four-year degree, Olean philanthropists Jim and Carol Stitt have committed $100,000 to create a new scholarship program for transfer students.
The scholarship money will be provided through the Stitts' family fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
Through a unique partnership with the CRCF, Jamestown Community College and St. Bonaventure University, the Stitt family intends to recommend grants of up to $10,000 per year for the next 10 years from their foundation fund to St. Bonaventure for the university to award to promising students who hold an associate degree from the Olean campus of JCC and are continuing for a four-year degree at St. Bonaventure.
Through their family fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, Jim and Carol Stitt have committed $100,000 to create a new scholarship program for transfer students. Pictured from left are, front row: Jim Stitt, Carol Stitt and Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., president of St. Bonaventure University; back row: John Sayegh, vice president and dean of JCC’s Cattaraugus County campus, and Karen Niemic Buchheit, executive director of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
"Carol and I are proud of the educational opportunities available right here in Olean," said Jim Stitt, chairman and CEO of CUTCO Corp, and a trustee at St. Bonaventure. "JCC and St. Bonaventure are vital to our region and serve as springboards to thousands of rewarding careers. Our family wanted to help make it more affordable for students interested in building on the foundation of an associate degree and pursuing a four-year degree, all while staying close to home."
The Stitts have a long history of giving back to the community. They actively support various charities in the area through the Stitt Family Fund at CRCF, where Carol Stitt serves as president of the board and was executive director for nearly a decade.
John Sayegh, vice president and dean of JCC's Cattaraugus County campus, said the Stitt Family Fund's gift is "a great educational opportunity for our students. More importantly, this program will strengthen the cooperation and collaboration that exist between our institutions and the Community Foundation."
The inaugural scholarship - which St. Bonaventure has named the Stitt Family Scholarship in honor of the Stitt family's generosity - will be awarded this fall. Candidates must be first-time students at St. Bonaventure and have completed an associate degree at Olean's JCC campus. Awards will be made on academic merit and financial need.
"This is the first scholarship of its kind at St. Bonaventure," said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of St. Bonaventure. "We are thrilled by the Stitts' extraordinary generosity. This scholarship will provide support for students who follow one of the many articulation agreements St. Bonaventure University has with Jamestown Community College. Transferring from JCC to SBU has been improved by these agreements and now is even more attractive for students who require financial aid, a critical component of the transfer process."
Stitt is an active member of the Olean community including past board of trustee member at Jamestown Community College, past director at the Cattaraugus County IDA and First Tier Bank & Trust and past board member at Olean General Hospital. He is a board member of the Challenger Learning Center in Olean. Nationally, he is past chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation and past director of the Direct Selling Association
In addition to her service at CRCF, Carol Stitt is a trustee for St. John's Church. In the past, she was a trustee for the Olean YMCA, and a board of directors member of the Olean YMCA, the Rehabilitation Center Foundation, Olean Area Camp Fire Girls and Boys, the Randolph Children's Home and the Community Schools.
The Stitt's sons, James M. Stitt, president of CUTCO Cutlery Corp., and John F. Stitt, president and chief marketing officer of KA-BAR Knives, Inc., are both graduates of St. Bonaventure and remain engaged in university enrichment. John serves as a lecturer for marketing classes at St. Bonaventure. James is a former CRCF board member and a current member of the Foundation's board development committee.
For more information about the transfer scholarship at St. Bonaventure, interested persons can contact Kate Dillon Hogan, associate vice president for Enrollment, at 375-2128 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.