Pettis Pools Entrepreneurship Award: In memory of Lawrence ’53 and Erma Ornce ’53 Pettis (State University College at Brockport)
Gifts, History, Philanthropy
After losing her mother in May of 2012, Pettis Pools & Patio’s Vice-President, Julie Pettis, wanted to find a lasting way to honor her mother and father.
She describes her journey to develop an appropriate tribute:
“After my mom passed away it became very important to me to establish a lasting tribute to both of my parents. As I reflected on their lives and all they had accomplished together it occurred to me it all started at Brockport.
That’s where they first met, fell in love, and married before both graduating in the Class of ’53. My mom had remained active with her fellow alumni and I knew she fondly thought of her years at Brockport as some of the best of her life.
Neither of my parents were attention seeking in any way during their lifetimes but I felt I wanted to honor their accomplishments. I really wanted to do something that would inspire the students and capture the entrepreneurial spirit of my parents as well as recognizing the integrity and character they demonstrated their entire lives.
My parents took a risk over 50 years ago by starting a swimming pool business in Hilton, NY and it has grown into a business that employs 70 people and has been named Rochester’s Choice #1 Pool Company the past 12 years in a row. It is that same “go for it” attitude, dedication, perseverance and integrity we are hoping to ignite in the students who participate in the annual competition for this award.”
The award will be for students interested in launching entrepreneurial ideas through their studies within the School of Business Administration and Economics.
Here is an excerpt from the college newspaper describing the award in more detail.
The children of Erma and Larry Pettis from the Class of 1953, led by their daughter, Julie Pettis, have made a gift to endow The Pettis Pools Entrepreneurship Award in Memory of Lawrence `53 and Erma Ornce `53 Pettis. This gift was made to honor their parents and their dedication to Brockport, the college they loved.
The founders of Pettis Pools (two locations in the Rochester area), Erma passed away in the spring of 2012, while Larry passed away in 2003. They are best remembered for their active roles in the Brockport alumni community and their avid support of the Class of `53 Scholarship. Their generosity inspired many of their classmates to give back as well.
The Pettis Pools Entrepreneurship Award is the first of its kind at the College. Individuals or groups of students from the School of Business Administration and Economics will be asked to prepare and submit a presentation about an entrepreneurial project that they hope they can then present to venture capitalists, banks and angel investors with evidence of the strength of their business plan. The recipients of the $2,000 grant would use the money to put into the project.
The first award is expected to be made during the 2013-2014 year.
All of us at Pettis Pools & Patio are excited to carry on the legacy of entrepreneurship with students at Brockport.