Published January 13, 2020
By Tom McLaughlin
Rutgers University–Camden will continue to be a global leader at the forefront of research and initiatives focused on improving the lives, opportunities, and understanding of children, thanks to a $250,000 gift from alumna Nancy Shuman to establish the Nancy Seagrave Shuman Endowment for Childhood Studies.
Shuman, a 1968 graduate of the Rutgers–Camden College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) with a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, established the fund to ensure that various initiatives within Rutgers–Camden’s Department of Childhood Studies will receive ongoing support in perpetuity.
“The well-being of children is deeply important to me,” says the Allentown, Pa., resident. “I hope that my gift provides increased momentum for the Department of Childhood Studies and related programs at Rutgers–Camden to help make a difference in the lives of children in the Camden community, the Greater Delaware Valley region, and beyond.”
Howard Marchitello, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers–Camden, praises Shuman for her continued support of Rutgers–Camden’s Department of Childhood Studies and its students. He notes that, because of her generosity, the students’ work will, in turn, be dedicated to ensuring the general well-being of students in Camden City and the greater South Jersey region.
“This act of generosity will reach countless beneficiaries for many years to come,” says Marchitello. “The College of Arts and Sciences is deeply moved by Ms. Shuman’s support and faith in our faculty and students, and in the vision of our Department of Childhood Studies.”
After earning a state scholarship, Shuman was drawn to Rutgers–Camden for the medical technology degree that it offered at that time. She remembers that she was among only three students in the inaugural cohort of the major and the intensive coursework was largely the same as for pre-medicine.
After completing three years of the four-year degree, she served a 12-month internship at the former West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees.
Upon graduating from Rutgers–Camden, Shuman continued working as a medical technologist in the blood bank at West Jersey Hospital.
She and her husband, Clyde, later settled in Allentown, where he and a partner founded Precision Medical, a global leader in respiratory devices.
Shuman has been a generous benefactor to Rutgers–Camden over the years, previously contributing to the CCAS Dean’s Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Center for Children and Childhood Studies Gift Fund.
Rutgers–Camden’s Department of Childhood Studies focuses on putting the issues, concepts, and debates that surround the study of children and childhoods at the center of its research and teaching missions.
Through a multidisciplinary approach, childhood studies aims both to theorize and historicize the figure of the child and to situate the study of children and childhoods within contemporary cultural and global contexts.
The curriculum in the department spans several disciplines in scope and purpose, and provides students with a strong background in both humanistic and social science perspectives on children and their representations. This approach prepares students for careers in many areas, including academics, public policy, social services, youth programming, and education.
Rutgers–Camden launched the nation’s first Ph.D. program in childhood studies in 2007. The program provides an advanced theoretical and methodological study of children and childhood. It prepares scholars capable of innovative research in this interdisciplinary field, as well as policy leaders with new perspectives in child-related social practice.
Story originally appeared in Rutgers-Camden News Now