Clare Bernstein was far from the traditional University of Connecticut student and her two children, also UConn graduates, want to make sure her legacy endures.
So Richard Bernstein and Judith Peritz recently established the Clare and Herbert (their father) Bernstein Scholarship Fund to, in Richard Bernstein’s words, “honor the memory of our parents.”
Richard Bernstein said his mother felt “that UConn provided her, a very nontraditional student, a warm and helpful welcome and a chance to make up for lost time at a reasonable cost. In recognition of that, about 20 years ago, she made a modest donation to create a small scholarship to go to some deserving needy student.”
Clare Bernstein emigrated from Hungary when she was two years old, but, in her son’s words, “never had a chance to go to college (unlike her three brothers) who became, respectively, a dentist, a business executive and a psychiatrist.”
“When she was in her 50s,” Bernstein continued, “and my sister and I were more or less grown up, she went to UConn, got her BA and then her MA, which led to a job with the state of Connecticut’s Welfare Department, where she worked for 20 years.”
Clare Bernstein passed away last year, at age 94. Her husband, Herbert, died in 1992.
“She also created a charitable foundation, the funds to be distributed by her two children after her death,” said Bernstein. He and his sister, Judy—both UConn alumni—decided to use some of the foundation’s assets to increase Clare’s initial donation, so that the university would be able to award one full tuition scholarship a year.
Judy Peritz, after UConn, got MA degrees in both education (Harvard) and public health (NYU) and worked in both fields, as a public school teacher, and as assistant to the director of emergency medicine at Belleview Hospital in New York. In her last job, she worked as a special education teacher in Wilton, Conn. She’s married with three children and divides her time between New York and New Hampshire.
Richard Bernstein, after UConn, spent five years studying Chinese and Chinese history at Harvard, and then embarked on what became a 35-year career as a journalist, first for Time magazine, and then for The New York Times. He was a foreign correspondent in Hong Kong and Beijing. He is also the author of nine books. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn, NY.
The Clare and Herbert Bernstein Scholarship Fund comes at the same time the UConn Foundation has kicked off its “Transform Lives” campaign, a five-year, fundraising initiative that will double the amount of financial support—including merit and need-based scholarships—that the Foundation raises for the benefit of the UConn student body.
“As UConn adds more students over the next decade, the need for scholarship and fellowship support will grow considerably,” said Josh Newton, president of the UConn Foundation. “The UConn Foundation’s $150 million initiative will bring a UConn education within reach of more families and strengthen the University’s standing among top public institutions.”