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    Photo Matt Shaw Fund

    February 05, 2018

    The Matt Shaw Fund: Gratitude Meets Opportunity

    Matt Shaw '12 had a quiet energy about him. Always cool and laid-back, he easily dominated any conversation with just a quick flash of his smile. While on the Heights, he served as vice president of P.O.W.E.R., volunteered with Campus Ministry and inspired those around him to work harder, be stronger and excel. He planned to attend the State University of New York at Albany to pursue a master’s degree in economics.

    Only a few weeks after graduation, in an act of violence as senseless as it was random, Matt was shot and killed in his hometown of Harlem, N.Y.

    While tragic, we refuse to let that meaningless act of violence be the last word on Matt.

    Since Matt’s passing, members of our community have created The Matt Shaw Fund. Its mission is, simply, to level the playing field. With help from the fund, all students—particularly those in financial need—can participate in programs that strengthen their education at Le Moyne. Below, students reflect on the ways the fund have impacted their lives.

    Kayla Burt '17, Psychology

    PictureI used the fund during the summer of 2015 to go on a service trip to Kingston, Jamaica. It was an unbelievable experience, and I'm not sure that I have the words to truly describe what that experience meant to me. It allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and immerse myself in a culture that was not my own. I learned so much about the world around me, and it inspired me to educate myself on other issues that we are currently facing. That trip showed me that life is not about the amount of material things you possess but about the joy that you have each day. I actually just got back from another service/immersion trip to the Texas/Mexico border to learn about immigration, and if it weren't for the Matt Shaw Fund giving me the opportunity to go to Jamaica, I would have never thought about doing service trips in the future.

    Inspired by Matt’s generosity, Kayla established the annual Matt Shaw Memorial 3v3 Basketball Tournament in the fall semester of each academic year. Funds generated from the tournament help support the Matt Shaw Fund.

    Cheyenne Chauvin '17, English  

    PictureI was given the opportunity through Dr. Ann Ryan to do an internship at Elmira College in June of 2017. I worked in Elmira College's archives and the home of Twain's wife and family in Elmira, "Quarry Farm." The Matt Shaw Fund allowed me to experience a wonderful opportunity to help preserve works and artifacts from Mark Twain and his extended family the Langdons, as well as contemporary criticism about Mark Twain and his work. We live in a digital age, and many are quick to throw out paper copies, but there are still people out there that see history in something as little as a brochure or newspaper clipping; I would have never been able to experience or gain an appreciation for how much work that archivists do to help preserve our history without the help of the Matt Shaw Fund.

    Aakash Bhatt '17, Information Systems/Marketing                                                                  
    PictureI recently graduated from Le Moyne College this past December with degrees in Marketing and Information Systems. As I approached my senior year, I knew that I wanted to go study abroad and immerse myself in a culture prior to graduation. I used the fund to go to Chennai, India with the Madden School of Business. As the scholarship offset a bit of the cost, it allowed me to focus more on the experience I would have in India and partake in all activities! I ended up shadowing at iNautix and started a project to build a database for an all women's orphanage, took an International Business course at Loyola College, and explored the rich culture South India had to offer. Currently, I am working at the Bank of New York Mellon. If it wasn't for this fund, I would not have been able to build the long-lasting relationships with the subsidiary iNautix and create a career path for myself with a Fortune 500 company right out of college! The fund gave me the ability to study abroad and has positively impacted numerous parts of my life! 

    Victoria Woods '18, Communication and Film Studies                                                                            
    PictureI used the fund during the summer in June before my senior year. My internship was at Elmira College (Center for Mark Twain Studies), but there was a possibility that the cafeteria during that time frame would not be open. The Matt Shaw Fund was used to provide me with money for two weeks worth of groceries during my internship. Being provided money from the fund made realize that I take food for granted. There are so many people in the U.S. that do not have access to food and it just made me appreciate all of the things that I have—like the access to three meals a day. I am grateful that the Matt Shaw Fund was there for me and provided me with the money to have food because millions of people in this country are not as lucky as me.

    Fernanda Vergara '18, Psychology                                                                                                                  

    Picture I used the Matt Shaw Fund for the Spring 2017 term. During that time, I was having doubts about returning to Le Moyne for the following academic year due to financial deficiencies. I spoke to Dr. Ann Ryan, who told me about Matt Shaw and how the fund is used to assist students with dreams and aspirations who just need some assistance getting there. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be in school and if it wasn't for funds like these, present realities may not have been made.

    Kwasi Yeboah '16, Political Science                                                                                                            
    PictureThe Matt Shaw Fund helped me to travel with my peers to Venice, Italy my senior year at Le Moyne. Since then, I can’t say I've been the same. What I remember most was looking over the Piazza de Michelangelo thinking I had never seen anything like it—standing alongside friends experiencing something so beautiful.

    Matt Shaw had a quiet energy about him. But that energy, however quiet, is still humming throughout the Heights. Generated by its benefactors and spread by our students, the Matt Shaw Fund continues to be a palpable testament of how the generosity of one life can affect so many others. While the grief over Matt's loss is still deep, the outpouring of gratitude for his life has been deeper still. If you are interested in learning more about the Matt Shaw Fund, please contact Barb Karper at

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