Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Cruz ’09
Hometown: New York, New York
Role: SUNY Oswego Admissions Counselor
Fueling the flame: Lorraine E. and Nunzio “Nick” C. Marano
“The current administration under President Deborah F. Stanley has excelled in providing high quality, competitive educational opportunities – and that’s why people like the Maranos and so many other donors have entrusted the institution with gifts to further that goal for its students – providing scholarships now and into the future.”
As a high school student of Dominican heritage in New York City, Emmanuel 'Manny' Cruz ’09 says he didn’t stick to a cultural likelihood – staying very close to home - when he selected SUNY Oswego.
Instead, he chose SUNY Oswego because it seemed like the “right fit.”
Today, Cruz is SUNY Oswego’s admissions counselor in the New York City area, working to help a diverse population of future students determine if the college is the right fit as they, too, pursue higher education.
Cruz promotes SUNY Oswego in the five boroughs—a growing area in the state—and connects top students with opportunities at the college. During interviews with potential applicants, Cruz learns firsthand how finances can be a hurdle to higher education.
“Unfortunately, we have students in NYC who have no support from their family—not because the family can’t help but because they just don’t know how to help,” Cruz said. “We also have students who are living well beneath the poverty line and are at risk of becoming homeless - or are homeless living in family shelters. The struggle is really about letting the students know that college is something attainable and within reach.”
In coming years, students with financial need—and those who are the first to attend college in their family—will be the preferred recipients of $300,000 in scholarships established as a result of the largest single gift in the history of SUNY Oswego: $7.5 million from the estate of Oswego County resident Lorraine E. Marano.
The gift established the Lorraine E. and Nunzio “Nick” C. Marano Endowment, which will be used to fund scholarships for students with financial need, especially those who will be the first in their families to go to college.
The college expects to select the first recipients of the scholarships for use in the 2017-18 year.
The campus’s pride in receiving this historic endowment can be seen at its central hub of activity: the Marano Campus Center, named after the benefactor to honor her generous gift.
According to Cruz, scholarships like the Marano scholarships draw top students to Oswego from the New York City area—and from all areas of the state and beyond—because of the financial relief they provide.
“I have students who have worked so hard in school, and getting a scholarship is their first acknowledgment of all the hard work they’ve done,” he said. “It helps attract the best to SUNY Oswego.”