Patricia DiFlauro Piroh '88 '92 MA is a fervent believer in the power of giving — for the giver as well as the recipient. “If people knew how much they get by giving, everyone would do it,” she says. On a recent mid-December day, her office in the DuMont Television Center was filled with wrapped presents with Post-it notes marking each gift for a boy or a girl. She was getting ready for her annual trip with broadcasting students to visit 50 second graders at Roberto Clemente School in Newark’s Youth Development Afterschool Program. They go to the school to distribute gifts and enjoy cookies and punch together. “It’s as much fun for our students and me as it is for the second graders,” she says with a smile.
Another way Patricia and her husband Doug show their generosity is through the two scholarships they have established for students in the Broadcasting Department at Montclair State, where she is a producer and director. “There’s no better way to show you believe in our students than sponsoring a scholarship,” she says. The scholarships honor her late parents, Angelo and Margaret DiFlauro, and her aunt, Mary C. Lozada. “It’s a wonderful legacy and a way for their memory to live on,” she shares. “My parents would be proud and it would give my aunt great joy.”
She also wants her fellow alumni to know that it doesn’t cost a lot to start a scholarship. “People don’t have to give a lot to make a difference,” she says. “If everyone gave something, imagine what we could do.” She also is a member of the Carpe Diem Society, the University’s planned giving society. This society ensures the scholarships continue in perpetuity.
Patty has a lot in common with today’s students. “I was a working-class student and paid my way through school, with the help of grants and scholarships,” she recalls. “After my aunt passed away, I started the Mary C. Lozada Scholarship in her memory. She loved to travel, so I created a study abroad scholarship. I think everyone should study abroad — it’s so important to have that global perspective. And some of our Broadcasting students work all year to save the money for the annual trip abroad, which we’ve done since 1997. They learn to interact with others and other cultures. The scholarship literally can make all the difference in their being able to go on the trip.”
“Scholarships invest in someone’s potential,” she adds. “You’re helping a future professional who’ll hopefully be in a position to support someone else at some point.” She likes knowing that one hundred percent of what she gives goes directly to students. “It always goes to someone who’s worked hard and deserves it. The money is important, but I find that the recognition of the quality of their hard work means a lot to the students as well,” she adds. “A scholarship is also a great way to recognize a former faculty member or someone else who made a difference in your life.”
For eighteen years, Patty has been the series producer for Carpe Diem, an award-winning magazine-format television program that airs throughout New Jersey. Patty earned her undergraduate degree in English and Broadcasting and her graduate degree in Communication Arts at Montclair State. In recognition of her outstanding efforts, she was chosen to receive an Alumni Citation Award in 2004 by the Montclair State University Alumni Association
“If you feel gratitude for all that you have, then giving is a natural extension of that. One person can’t do everything but we can all do something. It really can be life-changing, for both you and the recipient. No matter your circumstances, there’s always someone who needs help and a way that you can help. And it feels really good.”