One Wildcat mom shares how donor support is essential to her son's success

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Nathan Bujwid '17 is pictured here in his uniform with, from left, his grandmother Patti Allard, father Jacek Bujwid, mother Brenda Clunie and her husband, Bill Clunie. (Photo courtesy of Brenda Clunie)

Every year, the UNH ROTC program marks Veterans Day with a special ceremony that includes induction in the ROTC Hall of Fame for chosen alumni and the awarding of scholarships. Last fall, junior Nathan Bujwid’s family was beaming with pride as they watched him take part. And then his mother noticed some of the scholarship donors were also in attendance.

“I was awed at these donors’ commitment. These people feel so strongly about giving back and helping students right now, and to make the time to come to campus that day … it was such a personal touch,” says Brenda Clunie.

She and Nathan’s father, Jacek Bujwid, learned early on that college can be a financial hardship for families.

“Even for families who can afford to pay for some portion of their child’s education, it’s sometimes a Catch-22, because they are deemed overqualified for financial aid, but they still have to seek out additional ways to pay for their child’s education,” she says.

When Bujwid told his parents he had received a ROTC-based scholarship, they were thrilled.

“I thought, ‘We’re actually going to be lucky enough to receive some help from somewhere?’ I was just floored,” she says.

Nathan is majoring in civil engineering, and lives on campus — part of what he loves about being a Wildcat. He’s navigating the tough academics of his major, and the rigorous schedule of being in the ROTC program, but is finding time for fun, too.

“He was just saying to us the other day, ‘I wouldn’t change anything about what I’m doing, I’ve met so many unbelievable people that I never would have met before,’” Clunie says. “He really does love college life and all it’s offering him.”

Clunie appreciates that the university works to connect donors and students.

“Especially nowadays, making a personal connection is so important to help kids not take this kind of support for granted. UNH is adding that piece of humanity to the whole thing, and when you think about it, that will probably have a larger ripple effect and greater impact on these students, so that if they’re ever in the position to do something like that to give back, they will.”

Meeting donors in person is something that Nathan Bujwid '17 (far left) appreciates. "I think it's nice for students like me to put a face with a name. It's beneficial for donors, too, because they can see who their money is going to. They can see it's going to a good person, so they're going to keep giving, I hope." Nathan and fellow ROTC students pose with longtime ROTC support Marilyin Smyk.