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Family Giving

The Show Family

Gerry Shaw and Paula M. Rooney, parents ’17, learned early on about the impact of philanthropy, as both paid their way through college to obtain their degrees. Their careers as leaders in higher education—Paula’s as president of Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, and Gerry’s as dean of the same institution’s School of Business—further illuminated the importance of giving back so that students can access transformative opportunities.

The family supports numerous philanthropic causes each year, with Ithaca College as a top priority. Their son, Paul, is a 2017 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. The school’s rigorous coursework, designed to prepare and shape future communications leaders, welcomed Paul and provided the foundation he needed for his current career in Los Angeles.

Paul’s professors—particularly Dean Bryan Roberts—were crucial in collaborating to help Paul work through his learning differences and obtain his degree. That’s why Gerry and Paula chose to create a scholarship in honor of Dean Roberts’ commitment to helping Paul develop the skills to get to where he is today.

“[Our gifts] are not naming new gyms or buildings. We just give what we can. The major gifts get all the attention, but even smaller gifts can make a huge difference.”

Gerry Shaw and Paula M. Rooney, parents ’17

Paula and Gerry have stressed to Paul the importance of giving back and philanthropy, and that it will be up to him to carry his giving forward at IC, saying, “It has to be his choice and is his responsibility now.” They also note that families shouldn’t be put off by the idea that their contribution won’t make an impact: “[Our gifts] are not naming new gyms or buildings. We just give what we can. The major gifts get all the attention, but even smaller gifts can make a huge difference.”