Creating a Legacy at Clarkson
There are some individuals who, soon after graduation, think of lifelong philanthropy as a path to further their relationship with their alma mater. For Siren Chudgar ’96, it was early in his working career that he began to think of ways to give back to Clarkson.
Since leaving Potsdam and entering the medical profession, Siren has continued to be involved with Clarkson- be it on alumni councils, alumni admissions programs and most recently as a Reunion Class Giving Chair for his 20th reunion this July. Siren still maintains friendships with many of his fellow classmates; and he considers his annual giving and participation in alumni activities a way of serving and reconnecting with them. Siren is a recipient of both the Levinus Clarkson and Woodstock Awards. Additionally, Siren’s wife Jennifer’s inclusion into the Clarkson family, despite not being a Clarkson graduate herself, has created strong ties for the couple. “I feel very connected to the school because everyone has always taken me in as one of their own and made me feel at home,” said Jennifer. It is this path, along with their strong belief in the value of a Clarkson education that led them to establish the Siren ’96 and Jennifer Chudgar Endowed Scholarship in 2010. The scholarship supports deserving students so that they may have the same positive and life changing experience that Siren had.
Siren loved his time at Clarkson, and sharing those experiences with Jenn are what motivated them to create the endowment. “I think it’s important to give back to the school; it laid a great educational foundation that helped me tremendously in my career,” Siren said. After graduating from Clarkson, Siren went on to medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and later received his MBA from University of Massachusetts. In 2015, Siren completed a Leadership Development Program through America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) earning the designation of CHIE (Certified Health Insurance Executive). Siren is now a medical director with Novitas Solutions, a Medicare Contractor based in Mechanicsburg, PA.
Jenn is a graduate of Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY, where she double majored in Anthropology and Psychology. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology at University of Maryland, College Park. Jenn started working in Syracuse and moved with Siren to Pittsburgh, where he completed his residency in Family Medicine. While in Pittsburgh, Jenn landed a position with Amerinet and spent 15 years in Marketing and Market Research. She is currently between opportunities, but has found that the boys’ busy schedules (baseball, soccer, multiple musical instruments per child) have kept her quite busy. Siren, Jenn and their two boys, Vishay, age 13, and Shaan, age 11 currently reside in the Jacksonville, Florida area.
Neither Jenn nor Siren would have been able to pursue their academic degrees, or careers for that matter, without the support of scholarships and grants. So although an endowment wasn’t the first way in which the couple gave back to Clarkson it was the option that most connected them. Considering their success, it was important for them to create opportunities for future students. Their endowment has allowed Siren and Jenn to remain engaged with Clarkson’s current students and generate annual financial support in perpetuity.
In addition to being Clarkson Fund donors, Siren and Jenn pledged gifts over two years to reach the scholarship endowment level. They continue to make annual gifts at the Roundtable level, adding to the principal of the endowed fund.
“It’s amazing that by pledging a total of only $25,000 over 5 years, anyone can have an endowed scholarship. Getting letters from current Clarkson students thanking me for the scholarship is one of the things I look forward to each fall. I hope that others reading this will consider an endowed scholarship as part of their giving plans to Clarkson,” Siren said.
Siren also was the driving force behind the Newkofsky Endowment, an endowment that was created to honor the work and career of former Clarkson Dean of Students and Associate VP for Alumni Relations Steve Newkofsky. Siren spearheaded an effort that created not only scholarships for students but also an endowed fund for programming.
Additionally, as a former giving chair for his reunion, Siren knows the importance of his gift counting towards the class fundraising goal. Not only did his initial endowment pledge count, but certain annual gifts made after the endowment was funded are also included in fundraising totals. And when Siren and Jenn re-write their will to include Clarkson in their estate- that bequest may also count towards a future anniversary reunion goal.
Planning Their Giving
- Endowment Giving– Siren and Jennifer funded their scholarship endowment over a period of two years. They worked with the Annie Society to create guidelines for the endowment at the beginning of the process.
- Annual Gifts- Siren and Jennifer now make annual Roundtable level gifts to increase the endowment principal.
- Bequest– Siren and Jennifer plan to include Clarkson in their will. Gifting certain assets to Clarkson and passing others to their sons may save income tax for those heirs.
- Reunion Giving– The annual gift that Siren and Jennifer made to their endowment counts towards Siren’s 20threunion fundraising goals. Under many circumstances, endowment pledges and bequests also count towards anniversary reunion totals.
This web page does not provide legal or financial advice, nor is it a comprehensive review of the topic. You should consult your legal and financial advisors and Clarkson University before making or planning your gift.