Donor creates Northeast Ohio fund to support student scholarships


November 6, 2020

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Mark Szewczyk, ’93 BSPharm, is very familiar with the challenge of having to work during college – when he was a student at the College of Pharmacy, he said he had numerous jobs to help pay for his tuition and boarding.

“College was challenging – I was paying for everything myself,” Szewczyk said. “I had multiple jobs, working in research labs, in the pharmacy practice department and other jobs on and off campus as well. I was also fortunate enough to receive some academic scholarships and grants to lessen the cost burden.”

Now, Szewczyk is the vice president, Global Commercial Operations of Abbott Laboratories Molecular Diagnostic Division in Chicago, Ill., but he has not forgotten his own experience as a pharmacy student and needing a little help.

When thinking through ways to give back to others, he wanted to help the college. Finding a student in a similar situation to him, really stuck out.

“I wanted to help a student who might be in a position similar to me. Ashtabula, Ohio is where I grew up, and if I could do something to help someone financially from there or northeast Ohio, that would be great,” he said. “I am fortunate enough to be in a position to help students like me, and I believe investing in education is one of the best investments we all can make.”

Szewczyk recently signed a five-year pledge to create the Northeast Ohio Fund which provides need-based support to undergraduate students in the College of Pharmacy. Special consideration will be given to students who have experience living or working in diverse environments.

“There weren’t abundant opportunities for people where I grew up, and if I can help give someone an opportunity who wouldn’t otherwise have one, that’s what I wanted to do through this scholarship. I am hoping this scholarship can follow a dedicated and hardworking student throughout their time in the College of Pharmacy.”

The Northeast Ohio Fund was distributed to two Class of 2024 undergraduate students this year, Juwayriya Ahmed and Hawa Gueye.