Student Emergency Fund Hallmark of Dean Hugh Bonner's Tenure

All CHP Alumni and friends are invited join with Dr. Bonner to build a lasting fund for student emergencies. Hugh Bonner - Spring 2015

Helping students overcome obstacles to becoming healthcare professionals has been a hallmark of Dr. Bonner’s time as dean. Upon his retirement in summer of 2015, Dr. and Mrs. Bonner, the CHP Alumni Association, and Upstate Administration wanted to ensure that this type of student assistance continues in perpetuity and created the Dean Hugh W. and Lynnette Bonner Student Emergency Aid Endowment for the College of Health Professions

We’ve all heard about someone who had to drop out of college because of a personal or financial crisis. Hugh Bonner made it his personal mission as dean to help prevent any of his “kids” in the College of Health Professions from leaving their studies due to unexpected misfortune. 

“One emergency can make a student leave their program, and they may never come back and finish because of it,” said Dr. Bonner. “It’s been a passion of mine that if a student is facing a short-term, financial crisis, I cannot allow it to interfere with his or her education!”

Like the senior whose family home burned to the ground – all the family’s belongings, including the student’s, were lost to the fire. When word of the calamity reached the dean, he saw to it that the student received a $1,000 gift. The whole department rallied, noted Bonner, with fellow classmates raising money and faculty arranging for free textbooks to further aid the student in his studies. “This support made it possible for the student to continue on and complete the program,” said Bonner.  

Another instance involved an international student whose parents, living outside the country, were unable to send over living expenses for a few months. Friends said the student was subsisting on only apples. Dr. Bonner’s emergency fund came to the rescue, provisioning a hospital cafeteria meal card to sustain the student until family funds arrived.

“I could go on,” said Bonner, “over the years and throughout the programs, with stories of how kids have experienced unexpected, real need.” Since the late 1990s, Dr. Bonner has been tapping a personally funded reserve to ease student crises with gifts of $500 to $1,000. In recent years the fund has been supplemented through an endowment established by an anonymous donor with matching funds from the Upstate Foundation.  (Health Professions Alumni Connection, Spring 2015)

To participate, give online at or call (315) 464-4416. Be sure to choose this fund on the "Designation" dropdown menu.