It’s been 50 years since The College at Brockport first started making an impact on Susan Maloney ’67. Whether it was her first visit to campus in the summer of 1962 or her student teaching assignments that helped set the course for her professional life, Maloney credits Brockport for “opening many doors” for her. Those experiences, coupled with her diverse career in education, helped lay the groundwork for the Susan Kwas Maloney ’67 Scholarships.
The award supports two outstanding undergraduate students enrolled in the Childhood Inclusive Certification Program who will complete their student teaching assignments during the year the award is received. They were established by Maloney in 2011 in memory of her parents, Margaret Henrici Kwas and John Thomas Kwas. She recently made a planned gift to endow the scholarships.
“This is something that’s been close to my heart for a very long time,” adds Maloney. “I just feel grateful that I can do it while I can see the positive results.”
Maloney’s career path included working several years at a facility for intellectually disabled children. She was also the director of special education for the Newburgh (NY) City School District and helped oversee early intervention programs for the Orange County Health Department. She then went on to Mount Saint Mary College where she spent 12 of her 14 years there as the director of the student teaching program.
It was her experience at Mount Saint Mary that made her realize that, when the time comes, many students are inevitably forced to make a choice between working and student teaching.
“We felt student teaching was a full-time job so there were some students who had to put student teaching on hold,” says Maloney. “They received their degrees but didn’t have the student teaching component. I really felt that was a terrible shame so I wanted to do something when I could to assist students who get to that point and cannot continue.
“There’s always a need for very good teachers, and I think Brockport, based on what it did for me, turns out wonderful teachers,” adds Maloney. “These students deserve an opportunity to complete their degrees and do what they want to do and not be forced into another occupation.”
Maloney earned an elementary education degree at Brockport and often reflects back on her student teaching assignments.
“They took everything I learned in my classes and made it real for me,” Maloney says of her cooperating teachers.
Now retired, Maloney and her husband, Joseph, share time between their homes in the Hudson Valley and South Carolina. Retirement has proved just as busy as her career once was. Maloney served nine years on the Mount Saint Mary College Board of Trustees and also co-chaired a capital campaign with her husband for the school’s Math, Science and Technology Center. Additionally, she’s on a fundraising committee tasked with restoring the historic Ritz Theatre in Newburgh.
“I was always open to new things, and I feel blessed that I’ve had a varied career,” says Maloney. “I’ve enjoyed absolutely every single thing that I’ve done. It seemed like as one door would close, another would open. I give a lot of credit to Brockport. I was totally prepared to go out and be flexible to make these changes. My two student teaching experiences at Brockport were excellent preparation for what came in the future.”