During the years he chaired the department of anthropology/sociology at the County College of Morris, Fredric Bednarek sent many students on to Montclair State. “I encouraged them to continue their studies at Montclair State because of the quality of the curriculum and the professors,” he explains. “I was instrumental in articulating our course offerings to coincide with the course requirements at Montclair State. I was often in contact with Dr. Bertha Quintana, the University’s anthropology chair, who was a fellow grad student at NYU in the ’60s.”
Fred is continuing to help Montclair State. As a member of the Carpe Diem Society, which honors those who make a commitment to the University by will or through other deferred gift arrangements, he has set aside investments to establish the Fredric J. Bednarek Anthropology Scholarship to support either a junior or senior anthropology major with a 3.0 GPA in their major.
While attending the annual luncheon in Boca Raton this February, Fred met fellow Montclair State alumnus and benefactor Conrad Schmitt ’58. “I was spurred to make a beginning to the Fredric J. Bednarek Anthropology Scholarship now that I am still living,” he recalls. “I’m an octogenarian and want to establish the endowment now, so that I can see what help my bequest will give while I am still alive.” He intends to increase the endowment with the hope of providing full tuition to a student in the near future.
Fred, who grew up in Oakland, New Jersey, chose Montclair State because he wanted to teach. “The great professors and supportive classmates made me want to excel and become a dedicated teacher,” he recalls. He double-majored in history and biology and began his teaching career at Essex Fells School, where he taught history for four years. He later taught at West Essex High School, where he taught biology and geology, before joining the faculty of the County College of Morris. He retired as professor emeritus from CCM in 1998 after 30 years. During that time he was also an adjunct professor of sociology at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study Pre-Columbian Meso-American archaeology in Mexico in 1968, Fred has since traveled extensively for both research and pleasure. “Since my retirement I continue to travel and study and have circled the globe twice, visited all seven continents and many Atlantic and Pacific islands,” he says.
Retirement not only allows Fred to travel, but he says it enables him to give more time to Montclair State. “It’s essential for us who have gone to Montclair State to continue to maintain the high standards we were privileged to have experienced,” he insists. As a former educator Fred firmly believes in the importance of scholarship aid and hopes to inspire others by example. “I was a veteran and a scholarship recipient. It is now my turn to help others.”