The timing was right: A $1 million gift for Springfield College
The timing was right: A $1 million gift for Springfield College

Timing has always played an integral role in the lives of Paul ’65, G’72, PhD, and Nancy ’68 Couzelis.  As undergraduates at Springfield College, the couple never crossed paths even though their time on campus overlapped by a year. While Nancy spent her four years in Abbey Hall or International Hall, Paul commuted from his Springfield home in order to afford the tuition.

After graduation, timing worked in their favor as Paul finally met his soon-to-be-wife Nancy, an elementary school teacher, while working at the New Britain (Conn). YMCA. Soon after, they married and returned to Springfield College so Paul could begin a graduate program in physical education. Their education continued with Paul earning a PhD from Kent State and Nancy earning her master’s degree from Fairfield University. Years later, when the timing was right, Paul founded MediFit Corporate Services, a company specializing in the design and delivery of worksite health promotion and fitness management services.

Last spring, as Nancy’s 50th reunion approached, the timing was right once again as they found themselves in the fortunate position to give back to the institution that embodies the Humanics philosophy about which they both care deeply. During lunch with President Cooper the couple declared, “We don’t want to just support education. We want to support a Springfield College education.”

While discussing the College’s greatest needs, Nancy thought about her career as an elementary school teacher and was reminded of her freshman year when she received both a scholarship from the College as well as a federal loan for aspiring teachers. 

“Now the time has come for me to give back so that others can have that unique Springfield College education,” she said.

With that in mind, Paul and Nancy decided to establish a $1 million endowed fund that will provide 12 scholarships per year to “Couzelis Scholars” in exercise science or physical education: three to first-year students, three to sophomores, three to juniors, and three to seniors. Additional funds from the endowment will be used for assisting a senior “over the finish line,” or to be used for off-campus internships for a YMCA or exercise science experience.

Paul and Nancy see their generosity as impacting not only the scholarship recipients, but the thousands of lives those students will change as they go out into the world with a Springfield College education.

“We feel fortunate to be able to give back to the place that enabled us to have successful lives,” Paul said.  “Every recipient of this scholarship is a multiplier. A Springfield education is a totally unique one, as it prepares people for service to others.  They go out and they distribute in the world skills and abilities that improve upon people’s lives. That is something that doesn’t happen in the same way with graduates of other schools.”  

The first cohort of Couzelis Scholars will be admitted for the fall of 2019, and Paul and Nancy couldn’t be more excited to meet them. As Nancy stated, “You can get an education at any college. A Springfield College education is unique and different. There’s only one place you can get this education.”