A Gift on a Mission

Shirley and Alexander Papp

Shirley Papp, BHS'74 and Alexander Papp, DMSB'72

Shirley Papp, BHS'74, always knew she wanted to be a nurse. Aiming to be a first generation college graduate, she set her sights on Northeastern after receiving a full scholarship. While Shirley's parents supported her ambitions, her desire to attend college was beyond their realm of thinking, she says. With just eighth grade educations, her mother and father had achieved much: Holocaust survivors, they immigrated to the United States in 1951 and determinedly built a new life. Like them, Shirley was driven and resolute. Actively pursuing co-ops in various nursing specialties at Boston Children's Hospital gave her the breadth of experiences she desired—ultimately propelling her career as a nurse practitioner.

For Shirley's husband Alexander, DMSB'72, Northeastern opened his eyes to the professional world. An industrial relations major, he instead discovered a passion for sales and marketing—and a short-term position with the U.S. Postal Service became a fulfilling lifelong career with the agency. "I never thought of my job as work," he says.

Having met at a social event following graduation, Alexander and Shirley continued their relationship through letter writing across the globe as Shirley traveled through Europe and Israel and Alexander was enrolled in the National Guard. While their time at Northeastern was special, it often felt like a distant memory as they focused on raising their family, building their careers, and making time for a lively network of friends and family. Recently reconnecting with the university, Alexander and Shirley enjoy attending Northeastern programs and, like many, are impressed with the significant advances of the institution.

Inspired to give back to an institution that offered them so much, Alexander and Shirley established a charitable gift annuity to further Holocaust awareness through Jewish studies. Their gift provides secure income in retirement while honoring the perseverance of Shirley's parents. "It was my parents' mission to keep their story alive," explains Shirley, "Our gift will accomplish that."