By Leonela Tasé Sueiro
When Fatima heard she was a Gussin Scholarship recipient in 2020, she was in shock. It meant her entire college education—including books, room and board, and even trips home during the holidays—would be paid for. She felt honored and grateful to receive such a life-changing opportunity, both for her and her family.
The Gussin Endowed Scholarship is a unique opportunity for outstanding high school students to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania completely free of cost as part of The Gussin Spiritan Division of Academic Programs. The division was introduced in 1997 and has since served 691 students, and it is made possible by the incredible generosity of Drs. Robert and Patricia Gussin. Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties are lucky to call them friends and supporters.
"Thanks to the Gussins and our partnership with Duquesne University, these Club members were afforded an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams," said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. "This life-changing scholarship eliminates the challenges of financing higher education at a premier university."
Fatima, 19, was one of two Club teens to receive the honor that year, but since the program’s partnership with BGCSDC, 10 Club members have been granted full-ride scholarships to the university.
“This scholarship means everything to my family because I am a first-generation American and college student in my family. Before the Gussins, I did not think I could even go to college—not just because of my family’s academia, but also not having the funds to pay for my secondary education,” Fatima said.
Drs. Gussin began opening the door to help thousands of local Boys & Girls Club members achieve their full potential in 2011 when Robert joined the organization's Board of Directors. Since then, Drs. Gussin have made a significant impact and supported major initiatives and programs, especially academic and literacy enrichment opportunities for local youth. Drs. Gussin took their commitment to the academic success of our Club members even further in 2014, and established the Drs. Robert and Patricia Gussin Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Endowed Scholarship at Duquesne University that provides a full-ride scholarship with educational support to at least one of our Club members each year.
“I am not sure what I want to do next, but I know I will no longer have to worry about going through the struggles my parents faced as working-class immigrants. I would love to give back to my community with my time or money, and hopefully one day, I can help contribute to someone’s success like the Gussins have done for me,” Fatima said.
We invite you to See Yourself Here and recognize the significant impact your support can have on a child’s life. To find out how you can leave your own legacy, contact BGCSDC at www.bgcsdc.org or by phone at 941-366-3911.