Growing up in the farm country of northern New York, Caroline Spink ’16 dreamed of attending Syracuse University. A scholarship established in 1987 by fellow Lewis County resident DeWitt LeFevre ’25 helped give her that opportunity. Today, Caroline is majoring in social work and hopes to someday work with veterans struggling with substance abuse—a group that, in her words, “gave up so much in order to protect and serve.”
Where I’m from…
I’m from a small town in Upstate New York called Croghan, which is famous for Croghan bologna, maple syrup, the Croghan Candy Kitchen, and lots and lots of cows.
What I do besides study…
I volunteer at the Counseling Center here on campus, bake, and spend quality time with family and friends, along with exploring all that Syracuse has to offer.
Why I chose Syracuse University…
Ever since I was younger, Syracuse has been my dream school. After watching Syracuse sports on TV, seeing others wear Orange in my hometown, and hearing about the reputation this university upholds, I liked the idea of attending Syracuse University even more. During my first campus tour, I completely fell in love with the campus and couldn’t see myself anywhere else.
What I love most about it…
Out of everything that Syracuse has to offer, I love the diversity. Coming from a small town, I hadn’t had the chance to experience diverse situations or really gain an understanding of different groups of people and their backgrounds. SU encourages students to thrive off of and learn from all of the diversity on campus.
What I plan to do with my degree…
As a social work major with a minor in addiction studies, I plan to get a master’s in social work, so I can eventually become a clinical social worker and work with veterans struggling with substance abuse issues, unemployment, and homelessness. These veterans gave up so much in order to protect and serve. I hope to create programs to provide them with the skills they need to function successfully in society.
What this scholarship means to me…
It’s a huge honor, and especially meaningful because of Mr. LeFevre’s story and journey. Coming from the same kind of small town I’m from, he was able to accomplish so much and make such an impact on the lives of others. This inspires me to keep pushing to accomplish as much as I possibly can. Mr. LeFevre’s daughter, Diane Wright, who also graduated from Syracuse University, is an incredibly giving and compassionate woman. After meeting her, I was filled with so much joy because of the pride and love she has for her father. She inspires me to strive to be genuine, kind, and caring to all.
What I would say to someone who is thinking about giving…
Do it! As the recipient of a scholarship, I can honestly tell you that it really makes a huge impact. Because of extremely generous and giving individuals, students like me are able to receive an education that is priceless and very necessary today. For those impacted by your gift, things that seemed so unreachable become possible, and your generosity becomes an inspiration.
DeWitt C. LeFevre ’25:
Leaving a Legacy of Opportunity
DeWitt C. LeFevre seemed destined for a career as a writer.
While a student in Syracuse University’s School of Journalism, he served as associate editor of The Daily Orange and was an active member of the press club. After graduating in 1925 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he worked as a reporter for the Syracuse Herald, then took a job as a salesman for a real estate firm.
But business management was his real calling. So several years after his graduation from SU, he became president of Beaverite Products, in his hometown of Beaver Falls, New York. It was a position he would hold for decades, until he retired in 1970.
LeFevre was proud of his hometown and his family’s integral role in its development. He drew on his journalism background to write a personal history, Grand-pere’s Legacy. A series of letters to his grandchildren, the book was published in 1979.
Throughout his life, LeFevre gave his time and expertise freely to a wide range of organizations, serving as a member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, director and president of the Lewis County Health Association, and director of the Lewis County Trust Company. He was also a trustee of the Northern New York Conference of the Methodist Church, the Beaver River Central School District, and Bethune-Cookman Colleger.
Supporting SU and its Students
LeFevre’s connection to Syracuse University was especially strong, and one he maintained with dedication and enthusiasm.
Elected to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees in 1943, he served on several committees. In 1967, he was elected secretary of the Board of Trustees, and was honored with a Centennial Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to society. LeFevre was also a recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal, in gratitude for his exceptional service to the University.
Grateful for his Syracuse University education and determined to make that opportunity available to students for years to come, he established the DeWitt C. LeFevre Scholarship Endowment Fund in 1948. To qualify, recipients have to be residents of Lewis County or the surrounding area, with preference given to graduates of Beaver River Central School. More than 60 North Country students have benefited from the scholarship.
“My memory of my father’s trusteeship at Syracuse University is predominantly about his concern for the welfare of the students,” says alumna Diane LeFevre Wright ’51. “My husband, Jim, and I have benefited greatly as well—we have met and interacted with several of the LeFevre Scholarship recipients. They are some of the University’s most dedicated, conscientious, and creative scholars, and constantly renew our faith in their generation.”