Paying It Forward with a Life-Changing Scholarship

Jean Trotta Cooper ’50, ’60 MA

Jean Trotta Cooper ’50, ’60 MA

Loyal Montclair State University alumna Jean Trotta Cooper ’50, ’60 MA remembers the exact moment when she and her husband, Edward Cooper ’51, ’56 MA, decided to become members of the Carpe Diem Society of Montclair State, the University’s society for planned giving donors.

On their way home from a vacation in Canada, traveling in the fast lane in their motorhome, they hit a pothole. The front wheels of the vehicle started wobbling and, for a moment, Ed thought he might lose control. Fortunately, they were able to pull over and stop safely, but in that frightening moment they realized that they had not made provisions to ensure that they would be able to direct their legacy in the way they wanted.

Once safely home, they contacted an attorney for help in creating an estate plan. As a part of that plan, they decided to support an endowed scholarship for students preparing to be teachers at Montclair State University.

Jean says they chose to support scholarships at Montclair State because both she and Ed attended college with scholarship assistance. “Ed and I experienced the generosity of scholarships, and we want to do the same for others. The more people we can help in this way, the better. It’s a great feeling of satisfaction to know that you are helping someone else. I know that Montclair State will do right with it.”

In fact, Jean is so enthusiastic about the scholarship that will bear her and her beloved late husband’s names that she has decided to establish the Edward W. and Jean V. Cooper Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Training this year with a cash gift that will be augmented later with a bequest from her estate.

Jean says that there is a wonderful symmetry to her gift; she and Ed both had long careers that were enabled by the scholarship each received. Now they will be able to give that gift to others. “I have made the right decision,” she says.