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Kerry Gneiting

No stranger to hard work, Kerry Gneiting ’19 has never been one to step away from a challenge. Even with a bachelor’s degree seemingly out of reach, she was determined to use her GED and a genuine love of learning to continue her education. The Elizabeth Barnett Sette Endowed Scholarship is making that possible.

Now Kerry studies marketing at the Whitman School of Management, minors in painting, and plays on the Syracuse women’s rugby team. She aspires to work for a startup while she continues her art, allowing her to “do something that I’m very interested in, and something that I love and makes me happy as well.”

Where I’m from…

I was born in Rifton, New York, and grew up in Farmington, Pennsylvania, and Lakeville, Connecticut. However, I view the sleepy town of Takeley in England to be my home. It often raises the question “Why don’t you have an accent?” Well, my family has lived there the past seven years, and that is where home is to me.

What I do when I’m not studying…

I spend my time painting, cooking, or with friends. I’m also a member of the Syracuse University Women’s Rugby Football Club.

Why I chose Syracuse University…

I’m a transfer student. I had always wanted to go to a top-tier school, and Syracuse has a stellar reputation. They were very helpful with the transfer process and I felt that not only would this school be a good fit for me, but that the school genuinely cared about my well-being.

What I love most about it…

My experience at Whitman, so far. It’s definitely a change from my previous school. I feel confident that I will be prepared when I graduate. There are so many resources available and the professors are very personable.

What my scholarship means to me…

It has been nothing short of life changing to be able to attend Syracuse University.

What I would say to someone who’s thinking about giving…

My scholarship has given me a tremendous opportunity that I’m incredibly grateful for. Had it not been for this scholarship, my education would have ended with an associate’s degree. Now I’ll be the first one in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.

An Accomplished Alumna Gives Back

As a child, Margaret Elizabeth Barnett Sette moved with her parents from her birthplace in Butler, Missouri, to Upstate New York. When it came time to pursue a college education, she chose the College of Business Administration, now known as the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, at Syracuse University.

Following graduation in 1935, she launched a lifelong career with the federal government, putting her bachelor’s degree to work as an accountant and administrator for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. In 1942, she married William J. Sette, a Connecticut native and Yale University graduate.

William Sette was a physicist at the David A. Taylor Model Basin, one of the world’s largest test facilities for the development of ship design and part of the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Potomac, Maryland. Over the course of his career, he headed the acoustics section, the ship dynamics section, and the ship protection section, and participated in nuclear tests in the Bikini and Eniwetok atolls.

The Settes spent their entire careers working in or near the nation’s capital. And the fact that they never had children didn’t stop them from having an impact on the lives of young people.

Starting in 1972, Elizabeth pledged over $600,000 to Syracuse University, primarily for the Elizabeth Barnett Sette Endowed Scholarship Fund in the Whitman School. She passed away on September 25, 2000, at the age of 87 in Bethesda, Maryland.