Donald '59 and Donna Bell Traver '59
Traver's Passion for SUNY Cortland Reflects Lofty Elm's Membership
When Donald Traver ‘59 and Donna Bell Traver ‘59 first met as wide-eyed SUNY Cortland undergraduates, they had no idea how important the College would be to their personal fulfillment and professional achievement over the next 50 years.
“Virtually everything we have today can be attributed to our years at Cortland, “ explains Donna.
The two physical education majors worked hard to earn their SUNY Cortland degree and were married after Don finished his military service. Eventually, Donald taught science and became a guidance counselor in the Webster (N.Y.) School District, while Donna devoted her career to teaching elementary students in the Pittsford (N.Y.) School District.
“We were not exceptional students or exceptional athletes at Cortland, but we came out as good teachers,” said Donald. “I think our school districts would agree.”
As part of their Cortland education, both Don and Donna had the opportunity to take classes at the Outdoor Education Center at Raquette Lake. That experience led them to pursue a passion for the outdoors, which has included viewing nearly 5,000 species of birds in their natural habitats located across the world.
The Travers have also demonstrated a fervor for giving future SUNY Cortland students the same opportunities they enjoyed at their alma mater. Don and Donna have endowed a scholarship for physical education majors, as well as a program fund for student interns in any major at Raquette Lake. Most recently, they established a new program fund to help fund physical education students to participate in their required field practicum at the Outdoor Education Center.
“We have also included the College in our estate plans to help provide similar opportunities for future students,” noted Donna. “The Cortland College Foundation is a beneficiary of our retirement plans and a beneficiary of our remaining estate.”
SUNY Cortland has expressed its gratitude to Don and Donna Traver by recognizing them as charter members of the Lofty Elm Society. They join more than 100 other individuals who have now created a planned gift or have included the College as a beneficiary of their estate plans.