Jason and Ellen Hancock
“You’ve received a fair amount, so you should give a fair amount back.”
That’s the advice Ellen Mooney Hancock’s father gave her when he tried to persuade her to get a job before going on to earn her master’s degree. Hancock stuck to her studies, adding a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Fordham University to her undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle (CNR). But she took her father’s advice to heart, and she’s continuing a tradition of giving she learned from both her parents.
In fact, the WestConn benefactor and honorary degree recipient has an ongoing commitment to philanthropy and mentoring, devoting her time and other resources to helping others succeed.
“You give of what you have to give,” said Hancock, who received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from WestConn in 1993.
At WestConn and several other institutions, Hancock’s commitment is paying off for students. The Ridgefield resident and her husband, W. Jason Hancock — a WestConn alumnus and former faculty member — donated $1 million to WestConn in 2001 to establish the Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Endowment Fund. At the time, it was the largest private gift ever received by the university. Since spring 2002, the fund has generated annual scholarships supporting WestConn students. Fifty percent of the fund’s annual income provides need-based student scholarships, 25 percent supports student leadership initiatives and 25 percent goes to initiatives to integrate the creative arts with technology.
“It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of Ellen and Jason Hancock’s generosity to WestConn,” President James W. Schmotter said. “So many of our students work two or three jobs to finance their education, and this regrettably sometimes limits their full involvement in the life of the campus. The Hancock scholarships remove some of this pressure, and students’ academic experiences are enriched as a result.”