Thomas J. Cronin, Jr., Scholarship Created for SUNY Cobleskill Student Veterans
Before joining the Army during World War II, Thomas J. Cronin, Jr., was an indifferent college student attending a local community college in the Boston area. During those first two years, he might not have even achieved the accepted standard of average academic performance, which was known as a “gentleman’s C.” However, when he returned from the Army, in 1945 or 1946, after serving two-plus years as an air traffic controller, he resumed his college education at Tufts University, where he completed a baccalaureate degree in chemistry. While pursuing his degree, he ultimately succeeded at a high if not distinguished level and became president of the chemistry club. It was quite a turnabout for a previously undistinguished student.
When Cronin later married and was raising a family, two of the most important values that he and his wife communicated to their seven children were that high academic achievement was necessary and that high school success was expected to lead to a college education.
“Some of my fondest memories of my father involve education in one form or another,” relates his son, Dr. Thomas Cronin, Associate Professor in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. These memories include trips to the library, learning to read under his father’s tutelage from the Hay Wingo Reading Phonics book, and listening, with his brother, to his father read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea as they fell asleep. “I believe that my father would have wanted to be a teacher and, I learned anecdotally, that he was a very good teacher and mentor to the young chemists with whom he worked,” he added.
To honor his father’s memory, Dr. Cronin has established a permanent endowment fund with an initial donation of $10,000 to support the Thomas J. Cronin, Jr., Memorial Scholarship, which will benefit a returning male veteran of the military who has not completed his education. Ideally, the recipient will be highly motivated as a result of his military and life experiences and understand the importance of academic achievement. Candidates pursuing AS or BS degrees in the Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, biotechnology, geology, astronomy) or Mathematics will be given preference, particularly those in the biotechnology programs or someone who has expressed interest in pursuing a professional or teaching career in chemistry.
Matthew LaLonde, Director of Judicial and Veterans Affairs at SUNY Cobleskill, considers the scholarship a great landmark for the College. “This scholarship will not only give veterans an opportunity to have greater access to achieving a degree in higher education but also gives our college an opportunity to honor the service that Mr. Cronin Sr. and other veterans have given to our country.”
“From the sorrow and loss associated with the death of a parent, a child wants to see something good and enduring emerge, especially something that reflects a parent’s best traits,” Dr. Cronin said. “If somehow a returning veteran, similar in academic type to my father, can be helped by this scholarship and can be moved, as my father was, to imbue in his children respect for education, literacy, and knowledge, then my father’s memory will be well served.”
To find out more about contributing to the endowment for the Thomas J. Cronin, Jr., Memorial Scholarship, please contact the SUNY Cobleskill Office of Advancement by calling 518-255-5524.