On Friday, October 13, Bryant University hosted its annual Champions for Philanthropy dinner to recognize and celebrate its most dedicated supporters. Five awards were presented at this year’s event, which was held in the Heidi and Walter Stepan Grand Hall in the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology and coincided with Homecoming weekend at Bryant.
Honorees were selected based on their philanthropic giving and for their loyalty in the university’s Consecutive Giving Society. This year’s Champions for Philanthropy included: Ralph ’47, ’87H and Barbara ’83, ’85MBA, ’97H Papitto, Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist Award; Joe ’80 and Kathi ’81 (Jurewicz) Puishys, Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist Award; Patricia (Martineau) Monti ’56, Outstanding Consecutive Giving Award; Davis Educational Foundation, Outstanding Foundation Friend of the University Award; and Bank of America, Outstanding Corporate Friend of the University Award. Ralph Papitto was recognized posthumously.
“The individuals and organizations we honored as 2023 Champions for Philanthropy are among the university’s most devoted supporters,” says David Wegrzyn ’86, P’23, Vice President for University Advancement. “Their many years of generosity have helped to transform Bryant into an internationally recognized leader for economic mobility and student outcomes, and they are critical to the future of our institution. We were thrilled to celebrate with them at this year’s dinner.”
Ralph ’47, ’87H and Barbara ’83, ’85MBA, ’97H Papitto
Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist Award
For former Trustee Barbara and her late husband, Ralph Papitto, philanthropy was always a priority. The pair have invested for years in educational opportunities for underserved and BIPOC youth throughout Rhode Island, their home state, with their alma mater chief among their priorities. Barbara says she is humbled to accept the Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist Award on behalf of Ralph and herself. “I know Ralph will be looking down smiling,” she says. “Bryant has always been at the top of our mind and list, and it will continue to be.”
Joe ’80 and Kathi ’81 (Jurewicz) Puishys
Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist Award
For more than a decade, Joe and Kathi Puishys have led the way with philanthropic investments in strategic university priorities. Their dedication to their alma mater stems from deep personal gratitude and altruism, and they have inspired the Bryant community to “play it forward,” a phrase they are fond of that means helping others and imagining the future consequences of an action. They say they hope their philanthropy raises the sights of other alumni and inspires them to give back. “We are humbled by this recognition,” says Joe of the Outstanding Alumni Philanthropist award. “Normally, we would shy away from such mention, but we hope that we can encourage other alumni to consider playing it forward, too.”
Patricia (Martineau) Monti ’56
Outstanding Consecutive Giving Award
Even now, nearly 70 years after graduating from Bryant, Pat Monti gives back to her alma mater every year. “What continues to motivate me,” says Pat, “is the direction Bryant is going. I think they’re moving forward in the right direction.” She says her late husband, Michael, inspired her to support higher learning, so she carries on his legacy by investing in Bryant, which she has done for decades. Her annual gifts are directed to the Bryant Fund, which provides critical resources where they are most needed.
Bank of America
Outstanding Corporate Friend of the University Award
From their gifts to Bryant in the late 1990s to their support of minority students and their ongoing sponsorships of key Bryant initiatives, like the Women’s Summit® and World Trade Day, Bank of America has profoundly impacted the trajectory of many programs at Bryant. “We’re proud to have deepened our philanthropic support of Bryant over the years,” says Christine (Pane) Katziff ’86, Chief Auditor for Bank of America and a member of Bryant’s Board of Trustees. “This is a true partnership, and we are delighted to support the University and invest in the Bryant community.”
Davis Educational Foundation
Outstanding Foundation Friend of the University Award
Since it first supported Bryant in 1991, the Davis Educational Foundation has granted more than $1 million to the university to improve teaching and learning, enabling the university to advance its core mission of educating students and inspiring them to excel in their lives and future careers. “The Davis Educational Foundation is proud to have partnered with Bryant University on a number of strategic initiatives,” says Dr. Edward R. MacKay, Chairman of the Davis Educational Foundation. “We are pleased to have made an impact on Bryant’s faculty and students, and it is a great honor for the Foundation to be recognized as an Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist.”