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After serving our country in the military, Ron Stupak was looking for an opportunity to get an education. Moravian College accepted him when other schools wouldn’t and helped him to prove the talent he always knew he had. Since graduating, he has used his talents to succeed in the highest levels of academia and to provide opportunities for promising young people who, like him, are just waiting for an opportunity to prove themselves.
Stupak was drafted into the Army, where he served in the Third Armored Division. He was the only one in his group without a college education, but didn’t think college was a for him because of his poor high school record and because his blue collar family background made paying for college seem like an impossibility. Despite this, his friends decided to fill out applications for him, and applied to 29 schools. Moravian was the only one that accepted Stupak. He credits Moravian for believing in him, “I was supported by Moravian when most people weren’t willing to take risks on me.” When describing his path to Moravian College, Stupak says, “It was serendipity. I was lucky.”
It was certainly his hard work and not just his luck that allowed Stupak to achieve at a high level at Moravian and in life after graduation. Although his background did not give him the financial support to fund his education, it gave him the work ethic he needed to balance his work and academic commitments. He was a commuter who had to work long hours at the same time that he was getting his education in order to be able to pay for school. The political science major even found time to be president of the political activities club, and a member of the Veterans Club, which was incredibly important in supporting him while at Moravian, because of the members’ shared experiences.
His time at Moravian left Stupak with a love of learning that he continued after graduation by earning advanced degrees (a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Ohio State University) and teaching. In addition to the confidence he gained at Moravian, Stupak is thankful for the professors who he says in effect “adopted” him and for gaining the belief that researching and publishing research are critical regardless of one’s field or the size of one’s institution. He says of his decision to go to graduate school, “I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was as good as my Moravian professors said I was.”
As a college professor at Miami University in Ohio, the University of Virginia, and the School of Public Administration and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, Stupak was able to instill the same belief in his students that his Moravian professors instilled in him. And at each of the educational institutions where he taught, he won awards for outstanding teaching. He asserts that, “to be a success, you have to differentiate yourself.” He was able to do so in the academic world by proving himself to be not only a great teacher and mentor for his students but also an excellent researcher and writer. Stupak also differentiated himself by spending 12 years working for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as Deputy Director. He says that putting his theory into practice was the motivation for him to work with the FBI, “By consulting, I could have a more direct effect on organizations both public and private.”
After all of his career successes, Stupak still sees the importance of helping to create opportunities for others. He says, “I wanted to make sure other people had opportunities that I didn’t have.” Stupak has contributed to others most directly through his excellence in teaching. He also cites political activism as an important way that he impacts others, stressing that he is “a Kennedy liberal.”
And finally, his financial contributions to Moravian College are used to support students who need financial help to attend the College. He wants to help other students like himself, stressing that, “who you are is more important than what you know.” Moravian took a chance on him, trusting in the content of his character, and gave him the knowledge that he would apply in his successes later in life. The risk paid off, and Stupak has rewarded the College for its trust by becoming one of its most successful and proud alumni.
"I was supported by Moravian when most people weren’t willing to take risks on me."