University at Albany
Above: Kathy and Arthur 'Rusty' Brink

Why I Give

Katharin R. Brink, PhD '96
Consultant, Brink Associates

"Because of Rockefeller College, I enriched my potential for applying knowledge to diverse career opportunities and now to community engagement."

What does Rockefeller College mean to you?

Rockefeller is more than a school of public administration; it is much broader than public sector work… it is a place for leadership development. The faculty were always very engaging and supportive, and also very demanding and concerned about my professional development.

What impact has higher education had on your life?

My undergraduate experience was at an all-women's Catholic College, Manhattanville, where the educators instilled a desire for learning and high expectations for women. It was there that I first became interested in computers, through my psychology major, where I discovered an interest in artificial intelligence. I didn't pursue my master's degree until I was in my late 40s. An advisor then encouraged me to pursue my doctoral degree. With both parents having received a college degree, education and learning were always very important in my family. The sharing of ideas has had a great impact on me. Education has taught me to manage and approach problems in a meaningful way and to share resources and ideas with others on work teams.

What motivates you to give to Rockefeller College and the University at Albany?

I have an appreciation for the gift of education and know how helpful private donations are to higher education. I have always given to the College — at first just $50 — and have made larger commitments as the years have gone by to help maintain the quality for those that follow. I recognize the importance of the College and its mission of preparing leaders who strive to improve the public sector and the lives of others.

Why is giving back to the College an important priority for you, given that there is so much competition for philanthropic support from different organizations?

My husband and I choose to invest in causes that help children and improve healthcare and in both secondary and higher education. My doctoral degree is important to me; it made a big difference in my abilities and in my contributions to organizations thereafter.

How do you hope your gifts will benefit students and the College?

I hope that they help students to both pursue their education as well as to complete it. The excessive loans students carry today make me believe all the more in the importance of scholarships.

Do you have any messages for students about the importance of giving back?

Students should support the College the very first year they are out. From the start $25, or whatever they can spare, even if they are paying back loans. It is important to sustain the quality of one's alma mater. Education is the key to our success as individuals and as communities of the world.

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