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Leading From the Heart

Outgoing foundation chair leaves behind a legacy

Since 1974, Kathy Skrabut has called Salem State home.

Kathy devoted much of her career to the education of the nation’s future nurses as a faculty member in the School of Nursing. After retiring in 2013, she joined the board of the Salem State University Foundation, Inc. in 2014 to further the board’s mission to engage the community, inspire philanthropy and steward resources to invest in student success.

“I joined the Salem State Foundation because I have a firm belief that at every moment in our lives, we make decisions that may seem inconsequential but ultimately become the decisions that shape who we are as a student, a friend, a loved one, and a professional,” says Kathy.

At the time of her appointment, she wholeheartedly understood–and championed–the importance philanthropy plays in the university’s future success, and she continues to be astounded by the reach of the foundation and its support of Salem State students because of the philanthropy of donors.

Under Kathy’s strong leadership, the board was able to develop and launch its first-ever strategic plan, which also incorporated justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) practices and principles into their work. During her tenure, the endowment increased to $41 million, and the foundation experienced a record breaking $10 million fundraising year during her last year as chair (FY22).

“From a faculty member in the School of Nursing to the chair of the foundation board, each role I’ve stepped into along my journey unlocked a new door of opportunity. I’m grateful for the shared experiences–and challenges–I’ve had over the decades.”

During Salem State’s 10,000 Reasons comprehensive campaign, Kathy was instrumental in the success of the initiative as a member of the Campus Community Campaign Subcommittee and Campaign Case Statement Task Force, helping to raise over $25 million and establish 49 new scholarship funds.

“Kathy’s accomplishments illustrate the breadth and depth of her support,” says Cheryl Webster Crounse, vice president of advancement and executive director of the Salem State Foundation. “The foundation’s growth is a testament to her steadfast commitment to the future of the university, which provides critical financial aid to students in need and fuels academic initiatives that enhance our schools and colleges. We are so proud of what she has achieved during her tenure.”

As a member of the Crosby Society, Kathy continues her dedication to Salem State through the creation of a planned gift, further demonstrating her commitment and faith in the university and its longevity.

“At the end of the day, my work on the foundation came down to wanting each of Salem State’s students to have access to a transformational education, free from overwhelming financial burden,” says Kathy. “The support students receive from their own community instills a greater sense of belonging and motivation for them to persist to graduation. I’ve been honored to play my part.”

As of July 1, 2022, Kathy Skrabut is immediate past chair of the Salem State Foundation and is succeeded by longtime supporter Annalisa Di Palma.

Alumni Relations
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