An article in the Bound Brook Chronicle inspired Hugo Kladivko, founder of the program. Dr. Ralph Gallagher, retired superintendent of schools, wrote about Thomas Jefferson’s observation that an educated citizenry is essential to a self-governing democracy. Eighty-nine-year old Hugo began the “penny-a-day” concept to provide financial help to worthy students pursue higher education.
His first move was to call together several local education-minded individuals who formed the first Board of Directors: George Daniel, Jean Finlayson, John Haelig, Hugo Kladivko, Philip Schuyler, and William Woldin. It was more than two years before the first award was made—a $2600 grant to the first recipient, Susan Lester. At the time that amount represented the entire treasury. Presently two four-year and multiple one-time scholarships are available each year.