Scholarship Was the Perfect Send-Off for Accounting Professor
When Sharon Robinson stepped down from Frostburg State University's Accounting Department after 41 years of teaching, the last thing she wanted was some traditional retirement gift.
"I didn't want any gifts," she recalled, emphatically. Instead, she wanted to pass something on to the students she was leaving behind.
Robinson, with the help of the FSU Foundation, created the Sharon L. Robinson Presidential Merit Scholarship to be awarded to a junior or senior accounting major. A year before her official retirement in 2013, she started gathering contributions to the fund by sending out letters to alumni. It was the perfect way for the caring professor to leave campus and still take care of her accounting students.
"It's very helpful to the students," the emeriti faculty member said. "They need additional assistance. [Schooling] is so expensive."
A Cumberland native, Robinson joined Frostburg in 1972 when tuition wasn't too expensive, and the college was in a period of growth. When she arrived, there was only the Department of Economics, so she and her colleagues started the Departments of Accounting and Business. She warmly recalls those early years when she got to know students on a personal level because of the smaller class sizes.
"You felt really close to the students. You even had them over for dinner."
Through the years, as the department grew, Robinson acted as chair and saw many impressive young people come through her classroom and go on to work for prestigious firms like Price-Waterhouse or be quoted in high-profile publications like The Wall Street Journal. She even joked that one of her students reached rather outstanding heights.
"I taught Ricky Arnold," she boasted about the FSU graduate and NASA astronaut who was also an accounting major. "That was exciting."
Robinson still thinks fondly of all of her students that found success in their fields. "Just the thought that a program like ours could educate such amazing students."
When Robison retired, she received many notes and messages of thanks from alumni, many of whom contributed to her scholarship fund.
"It's so good to know that you've made a difference in someone's life."
She has since relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, to be closer to family, but still keeps in touch with her former Frostburg students and colleagues. Robinson continues to receive letters from the current recipients of the scholarship she generously established at her retirement. She encourages other faculty and staff to consider setting up a similar fund as a way to help future students.
"We have so many deserving students and we need to do everything we can to help good students."
To make your own planned gift to Frostburg State University contact Liz Nelson, Planned Giving officer, at [email protected] or 301-687-3163.