Rick Stearns visited St. Bonaventure as a senior in high school and said the university “felt like just the right fit.” When he arrived at St. Bonaventure for his freshman year, Rick “did not know one person there,” but this Poughkeepsie native quickly bonded with his classmates. And that connection has only grown stronger in the 50 years since his graduation.
“At St. Bonaventure, it was really easy to connect with other people,” Rick said. “We all played intramural sports and tried to win the President’s Cup. Even ‘rules’ during our freshman year— wearing those dink hats and signs—bonded us in a special way.”
In addition to the strong bond among the students, the friars and professors at St. Bonaventure also contributed to the unique atmosphere on campus. As a business major with a concentration in finance, Rick clearly recalls classes with Professor Austin Finan.
“Prof. Finan was such an excellent lecturer, I would forget to take notes!” Rick recalled. “I was mesmerized by him—and needless to say I had to borrow someone’s notes to study for his midterm.”
Since his graduation, Rick has been blessed with a wonderful family—his wife Kathy, a daughter and son and four grandchildren—as well as a successful career in the insurance industry. Now retired and living in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Rick enjoys staying close to his Bonaventure roots by reaching out to prospective new Bonnies. “I have helped recruit 26 kids over the years. Right now I am working with a young lady from here in Florida. I told her if she chooses St. Bonaventure I will buy her a pair of snow boots,” Rick joked.
Rick may joke about St. Bonaventure’s snowy winters, but he is serious when it comes to his devotion to his alma mater and his desire to give back. “My father always taught us to give back, especially to the community that shaped and nurtured us,” Rick said. “At St. Bonaventure, I received a great education and values that helped shape my life. That’s why I decided to support the university in my estate plans.
“Kathy and I view Bonaventure as a member of our family. So we decided to treat it as our third ‘child’ in our will. We designated 10 percent of our estate to go to St. Bonaventure as thanks for the education I received. I hope other alumni will consider doing something similar—the gift amount is your choice, but the key is to give back so others can experience what we all received from the friars during our Bonaventure years.”