Dean '62 and Zoe Pappas Establish $1 Million Scholarship Fund
July 1, 2012
Later this year, Dean '62 and Zoë Pappas will be inducted into Dickinson's Founders' Society, a premier society for donors who've made lifetime gifts of $1 million or more to the college.
As Posse scholarship supporters for roughly a decade, Dean ’62 and Zoë Pappas have long been impressed with how the scholars they supported made the most of their time at Dickinson. Recently, they met Aleksandra Pyra ’12, a political-science and sociology double major who taught Bologna high-school students English through the Dickinson in Italy program last year; Reggie Glosson ’14, a biology and Africana-studies double major working to gain Student Senate recognition for the college’s first NAACP chapter; and Sarah Archer-Days ’15, who became secretary and producer for RDTV, the college’s new student-run broadcast organization, during her first year at Dickinson.
“It’s so impressive to see these young people all working in some way to benefit the college, the community or the world,” says Zoë Pappas. “The opportunity that the Posse Program provides its students is commendable.”
So much so that the New Jersey couple recently decided to make a $1 million gift to Dickinson to endow a scholarship fund that can provide the same opportunity for more Dickinson students. The Dean ’62 and Zoë Pappas Scholarship Fund will provide tuition assistance to students with financial need, particularly high-school graduates from Cumberland and Salem counties in New Jersey or those pursuing careers in public service.
“We very much believe in the idea that to have a functional democracy, you need to have an educated populace,” says Dean Pappas. “Dickinson excels in giving students direction and helping to expand their worldviews. That’s an accomplishment that we fully endorse.”
Dean knows firsthand how experiences at Dickinson can have that effect. The former English major remembers classes and professors fondly but admits he was “drifting” until his junior year. Then, in spring 1961, he went to the Allison United Methodist Church to hear a young preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. speak as part of Dickinson’s Representative American Preachers series.
“King was talking about how we all need to act responsibly, and it really struck me,” Dean recalls. “I know he was talking about social justice and integration, but I applied it to my own life, and I knew I needed to help my family.”
Dean’s father had just become ill, and the family fruit- and vegetable-canning business faced difficulties. Inspired by King’s message, Dean spent his senior year missing out on fraternity parties and driving home each weekend to help pull the company out of debt. After graduation, he shelved his law-school plans and took the helm of the then struggling Clement Pappas Co.
The plan was to lead the business only long enough for his younger brother to get through college, but success got in the way. “Eventually, we started to produce juice. As it became very popular, we just expanded,” Dean recalls. His brother joined him after he finished college, and soon the two were concentrating exclusively on juice and cranberry sauce, and expanding the family business across the country.
After 50 years guiding the successful food-processing company, Dean retired as president and CEO in 2011. When the company was sold, he turned his attention back to his alma mater. “Dickinson continues to be an outstanding school, and it’s really progressed since my time,” says Dean. “I think it does an excellent job of exposing students to what’s really important, and that’s something we want to support.”
The scholarship offered him the best way to do that, but he continues to look for additional ways to help the college carry out its mission. “The more I see,” says Dean, who was on campus for his 50th reunion during Alumni Weekend in June, “the more I’m encouraged to support the college.”