Fiat paying it forward

Dear Alfred University students, staff, and faculty:

Alfred University is grateful to have alumni who—inspired by their own Alfred experience—decide to make a philanthropic investment in the next generation. This collective desire to “pay it forward” has helped countless Alfred University students over the years.

One such alumnus is Antone “Tony” Carvalho ’53, who in 2007 established the Mary Fernandes Carvalho Endowed Scholarship—named in memory of his late wife—which is awarded to students who are first-generation Americans. Tony’s parents came to the United State from the Portuguese Azores while his wife’s parents were from Portugal.

Tony came to Alfred University from his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts, to be closer to Mary, his childhood sweetheart, whose family lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. After graduation from Alfred, a strong recommendation by professor Henry Langer, who played a pivotal role in building up business studies at our University, earned Tony admission and a significant scholarship to Columbia University’s master’s program in Industrial Relations.

Master’s degree in hand, Tony interviewed at Fortune 500 company Chesebrough-Ponds, which coincidentally employed Jack Edward Walters as a consultant. Jack had served as Alfred University’s seventh president from 1945-48. Tony and Jack conversed during the interview, trading stories about Alfred University. Jack urged the company recruiter to “hire him [Tony],” who went on to enjoy a distinguished career at Chesebrough-Ponds, retiring as director of international personnel and industrial relations shortly before the firm, with $3 billion in annual revenues, was acquired by Unilever. 

Natalie Skwarek ’11, who earned a degree in psychology from Alfred University, was a grateful recipient of the Carvalho Scholarship. She and Tony exchanged letters when she was a student. Natalie, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Poland, currently works as digital project and archives associate at Herrick Memorial Library. She was always aware that Tony made her Alfred experience possible. When Tony visited campus earlier this week, he and Natalie finally had the opportunity to meet.

Natalie Skwarek ’11 and Antone “Tony” Carvalho ’53

Another alumnus who is paying it forward is Christina Lewis ’97. Christina, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Alfred University, is a contractor of tax and accounting services provided by her company, CF Lewis, LLC, which she began in 2006. She recently committed $25,000 to sponsor student ambassador positions working with the College of Business and Career Development Center to identify and promote internship and job opportunities for our business students.

Tony Carvalho, whose career success can be attributed in part to a strong graduate school recommendation by one of our faculty and a chance Alfred University connection during a job interview, and Christina Lewis, who wants to ensure current students have the opportunities she enjoyed, are but two alumni whose time at Alfred inspired them to give back to their alma mater.

Please join me in thanking Tony and Christina as well as, posthumously, professor Langer and president Walters, for their willingness to create opportunities and open doors for Alfred University students. We hope many other alums and friends follow in their footsteps by paying it forward.

Fiat paying it forward!