Stamford Donors Find Joy Creating a Legacy of Philanthropy

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Tiffany Ventura Thiele

3 min read

Donors Peter ’55 (BUS) and Re’ Telep are committed to supporting UConn Stamford students today – and in the future.

In 2009, the couple established the Telep Family Scholarship to support UConn Stamford students. Recently, the two decided to ensure the scholarship’s longevity by creating an endowed scholarship through their estate plans. For the Teleps, this scholarship is an opportunity to give back and help others move ahead in the world.

“We’re just big believers in education,” said Re’ Telep. “If you’re going to put your money anywhere in this country, it should be toward improving people’s lives so they can improve the country.”

Peter Telep has strong ties to UConn. He entered the University in the second semester of 1952, graduating in three and a half years from the School of Business. Calling his time at UConn “absolutely wonderful,” Peter was drafted into the U.S. Army upon graduation, and after two years of service he began his career in New York in the business and advertising sectors. He met his wife Re’ on a business flight, where Re’ worked as a TWA air hostess, and the couple eventually moved to Stamford and raised two sons.

For years, the Teleps stayed connected with UConn through their giving and by attending alumni events. Then, the couple met with UConn Stamford officials to discuss ways of giving closer to home.

“We always were charity-minded and we decided to look at our giving,” said Peter. “In reappraising everything, we decided that we wanted to increase our giving but give it locally, where we knew that the money was going to go directly to the recipient.”

The Telep Family Scholarship was created soon after. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to two or three full-time undergraduate students enrolled at UConn Stamford.

“That satisfied our reason for giving,” said Peter. “We want to see this place succeed because I think it’s good for the University and it’s good for the city of Stamford.”

The Teleps also felt it was important to support the diversity on campus. In 2015-16, minority students made up 44 percent of UConn Stamford’s student population.

“Peter is first generation in this country, and his parents from Eastern Europe really stressed education,” said Re’. “It was always, ‘Get an education – you’ll do better than we did.'”

Since its creation, the Telep Family Scholarship has had a significant impact on its recipients, including Alena Yaseva ’16 (CLAS). Alena graduated in May with a double major in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. She credits the scholarship for substantially contributing toward her tuition and allowing her to finish her degree on time.

“The Telep Family Scholarship had a tremendous impact on my life,” said Alena. “It gave me an opportunity to finish my undergraduate degree, enroll in graduate school to finish my career goals, and attend great courses throughout my senior year at UConn.”

Alena is just one of the many students that the Teleps have touched with their giving. Now, with their decision to create an endowed scholarship, the Teleps will help students in the Stamford area in perpetuity.

“Basically, [we wanted] to continue our yearly scholarship here,” said Peter. “I think without an education, your prospects in the future are dim. If you’re able to give back and help someone else, it’s a very good feeling.”

In fact, the Teleps consider it a privilege to give – and they hope that others will consider giving as well.

“Once you get involved in the process, it’s a very gratifying feeling,” said Peter. “I think a lot of people think that it has to be a big number. It doesn’t have to be a big number. A lot of little numbers add up to a big number. Every little bit that you can contribute helps someone else move ahead in the world. Certainly, it’s brought us a feeling of joy to be able to help someone.”

As Alena pursues her master’s degree in social work this fall at Columbia University, she is extremely grateful for the Teleps’ generosity.

“Without your help, I wouldn’t have been able to finish my undergraduate degree or enroll at Columbia University,” said Alena of the Teleps. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

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