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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Myron Achbach with Myron Achbach Scholarship Recipient, Gabriel Garcia '24.

A Touch of Home

Alina Munoz ’01 and her family met Myron Achbach ’58 (in the above photo with Gabriel Garcia ’24) when he made a recruitment visit to her high school in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His kindness and sincere presentation convinced them to choose UD, and that was just the beginning.

Achbach, now an emeritus director of admission at UD, would go on to mentor Munoz through her four years in college, helping her navigate life far away from home and providing guidance on a variety of issues including finding an on-campus job.

“Myron regularly checked on Alina and was also instrumental in helping Alina secure a tour guide position in the admission office, which was an enriching experience for her and the Spanish-speaking prospective students and their parents,” shared Susan Fernandez, Munoz’s mother.

Therefore, when Fernandez learned about the Myron Achbach scholarship, established in 2012, giving to it was an easy and obvious decision for her. Recently, Fernandez decided to double her annual commitment to the scholarship.

“Myron still calls my husband and I, at least annually, to thank us for our donation, or to give an update on him and his wife. He is just so pleasant and nice,” said Fernandez.

The driving force behind establishing the scholarship was Lynton Scotland ’84, who was recruited from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Scotland, a former board of trustees member and a current We Soar campaign cabinet member, was deeply impacted by Achbach’s dedication to helping the Caribbean students on campus by checking on their well-being and connecting them to necessary resources. Scotland was supported in his initiative to set up the scholarship by Rob Durkle, former assistant director of admission.

“During his trips to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Myron would meet with our parents who gave him tidbits like homemade food to bring back to us. I can never forget my mom baking bread and giving it to Myron to bring back to me. That connection was there because he visited our homes, he knew who we were and he looked out for us. Our parents felt someone was there to care for their kids,” recalled Scotland.

The Achbach scholarship reinforces that legacy of compassion and along with financial assistance alleviates the sense of distance for the students and their parents. “In addition to easing the burden of tuition expenses, the Myron Achbach Scholarship has allowed me to save up for travel costs to visit my family in San Juan. I was able to go home during a difficult time for my family — my grandfather's funeral in spring 2023, and for that, I am profoundly grateful,” said Gabriel Garcia, one of the scholarship recipients from 2022.

Garcia and two other students from Puerto Rico recently met Achbach for lunch. Garcia feels that Achbach’s genuine care and support make a significant difference in his academic and personal life.

For Achbach, connecting with these students and their families was a matter of intuition as he understood the concerns of students and their parents.

“I tried to take care of them to the best of my ability because I realized they were in a new and unknown atmosphere, and the parents were concerned about their kids being so far away. So many students came to me for their problems, and I tried to intercede for them as much as I could,” said Achbach. To give the students a touch of home, Achbach and his wife, Janet, hosted parties and picnics at their house so that the students could feel the comfort and warmth of a supportive community.

While Scotland took the initiative to establish this scholarship as a tribute to Achbach’s dedication to his work and students, his motivation goes beyond that. Scotland believes that the scholarship provides a fair opportunity to deserving students from the Caribbean to acquire a top-notch education replete with essential Marianist values and a chance to pursue excellence.

“When I was in St. Croix, I hadn’t even heard of UD. Who could have thought that this kid from the Virgin Islands would end up on the board of trustees at UD and go on to find such success in corporate America?” reflected Scotland, who is currently the vice president of supply chain and the chief procurement officer at Con Edison in New York City. “This scholarship genuinely benefits students from the Caribbean and enriches experiences at UD by having diverse perspectives in an inclusive learning environment.”

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