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Exceptionally Generous

Alumnus and scholarship recipient promote Giving Day ‘24

For nearly three decades, Bridgewater State University alumnus Michael Rothberg, ’90, has donated to his alma mater to help ease the financial burden for students.

Rothberg recalled his first donation, early in his career working as a financial advisor.

“I gave $25…and it started me on a path to giving back to the college that gave me so much,” he said.

Like he has every year since, Rothberg will be donating Wednesday during BSU’s annual Giving Day, run by the Alumni and Development office. This year’s theme is “For Every Student, Without Exception.”

He’s helped multiple students through the Michael S. Rothberg Scholarship offered as part of the sponsor-a-student program. This year’s recipient is aviation major Joseph Davis, ’25.

In addition to regular tuition, aviation majors are financially responsible for flight training.

The support has not only alleviated the financial burden for Joseph but has also boosted his confidence.

“Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to continue to focus on aviation and helped me believe in myself, to believe in the direction I’m heading,” he said.

For Rothberg, being able to help students like Joseph is why he gives.

“I started giving because I really knew the day-to-day challenges that someone like myself faced, and assumed others had too,” Rothberg said. 

Raised by a single mother in Plymouth, Rothberg said money was often tight and being the oldest of three boys meant a lot of responsibility was placed on him.

He knew college was going to be expensive so narrowed down his search to schools within financial reach. Bridgewater State was one of those schools.

He applied and was accepted. To make it financially viable, Rothberg commuted to and from his Plymouth home for the first two years.

He was able to secure housing his third year and worked two jobs to make ends meet. Needless to say, he was busy.

Aside from the academics and working, he also got involved on campus, and in his last year at Bridgewater served as Student Government Association president.

He worked with then-President Adrian Tinsley to help resolve issues and to strengthen connections between students and the administration.

“The experience gave me the opportunity to become empathetic, educated and informed about not just my situation, but everyone’s situation,” Rothberg said.

After graduating, he embarked on a career as a financial advisor, and as he started to establish himself, that’s when he began his decades-long tradition of giving back to Bridgewater State.

“I recognize how important it is to give back to the place that helped me change and that molded me at a very young age,” he said.

With so many generous donors and scholarship opportunities, Davis said all students should consider applying.

“The effort it takes is minimal, and the reward is great,” he said.

To those like Rothberg who make these scholarships possible for students, Davis can’t emphasis his gratitude enough and knows one day, when he’s able, will do the same.

“Truly, thank you,” he said. “Thank you for (donating) and helping start a fire that I will maintain and grow. I look forward to being able to donate back to students after I graduate.”

BSU’s Giving Day 2024 starts at 2p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, and ends at 8:40 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

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