2020 Hall of Fame Reunion and Celebration: Jordan Baker-Kilner and Kevin Kilner

Okay so my wife Jordan and I would like
to thank St. Thomas Aquinas so much for this honor. I mean to be honest, we were
really quite surprised then really I was embarrassed (I know you were too) when we were informed that STAC wanted to honor us for our contribution. I mean in
our eyes, it did not seem to us that we had made that large of a contribution. So
Kevin and I know, we’re not graduates of STAC, we did not grow up anywhere near
this community. Kevin grew up in Monkton, Maryland and went to Johns Hopkins
University, and I was raised in Los Angeles. I’m a graduate of Smith College
and Rutgers University. And you know, while we participate in the growth of
our alma maters, STAC now holds a special place in our heart. Absolutely. We
moved into this community about nine years ago, we live about a mile down the
road in Tappan, and for the first few years we were not really aware of the
school–we just saw these beautiful lawns and campus, and that occasional pack of
students running by us as we drove our way down 303, and well one day,
I met a STAC representative at a Keep Rockland Beautiful event, and my wife
teaches the Business of Arts at Montclair State University in New Jersey,
and I suggested that they meet. So Kevin kept telling me to call this woman at
STAC, and I kept thinking, “why?” you know, but what does that school have to do
with us? And finally I did connect with Margaret and I was given a tour of the
campus and I became awakened to this little jewel of a College right in our
backyard! So I went home to Kevin, and I told him that STAC was this
extraordinary asset in our community, and that we should get involved in its
growth. So we were invited to a dinner at Margaret’s home, and we were immediately impressed with the rock star Margaret! Her eyes just draw you in, and you have to
do anything that she says! We were impressed with her vision, her leadership,
and of course, her magnetic personality. So afterwards, we were invited to join
her President’s Council, and at those breakfast meetings of community leaders
who collaborated together, and students sharing and hearing from Margaret about
what’s going on at the College, and her vision for the future and the plans that
got us all even more involved, as well as the Annual Golf Tournament…I don’t play
golf but I like the Broadway show tickets! Oh, she does! We were looking for a way to make a personal impact, so I learned that STAC provides a scholarship for a
returning veterans and that’s where our personal mission for
the school began. Our families have a long line of service in the US Military.
My father and his brothers were all Marines, and I have cousins who are not
only graduates of West Point, and Annapolis, but teach there and continue to serve on
active duty to this day. Now the GI Bill does not cover the cost of a full
four-year education. STAC raises money through scholarships to make up that
difference. A man or woman who has served this country has a great deal of
education already under their belt, so the knowledge they bring from their life
experience, their travels, their discipline, is also a great addition to
life on campus at STAC. So we’re honored in supporting them in completing
their degrees, and opening doors for their entrance into the civilian
community, and perhaps continuing to higher degrees of education. A scholarship block
when we started was $25,000…it’s just gone up! Like everything else. And my wife and I are actors, and that was a huge sum of money for us, so at first we were a
bit overwhelmed and we thought, “how will we do this?” So the one thing we know about
this new technological world is we’re all connected by networks, and many
networks in many areas of our lives. We went out to a group of our friends and
family, and explained that what we were doing and the commitment we would need from them over the next five years; and to our surprise, everyone agreed
immediately. And STAC helped–they set up auto-pays, and each month the scholarship has grown. Now, my father served valiantly on the battlefields of Korea. He was
wounded twice in the First Marine Division, and his service saved–he
saved many lives, and it defined him throughout the rest of his life. On
Father’s Day a few years ago, we surprised him by presenting the
scholarship to him in his name, and he just couldn’t believe it…that he would
leave such a legacy. The Edward A. Kilner Scholarship has been the most rewarding
action Kevin and I have ever taken. We tell friends here in our Rockland
community, “anyone can do this!” Scholarships are not just made by people
of wealth, so I mean, we all have networks of people–small consistent contributions
over time can have a great benefit to someone who will be in great benefit to
all of us out there in this world! And I would say to Margaret, “we’re not wealthy,
but we have time and friends, and how can we help?” We have brought
community to this College who never went here, people who are opening their
networks to STAC. We encourage you to think about what you could do for this
beautiful institution by opening your phone, gathering a few friends, and
changing someone’s life forever. It’s not hard! Are you ready to build another
scholarship? Yes, yes of course! We want to thank everyone at STAC, especially
Margaret for giving us the opportunity to do this great, good work. We love you all so much, thank you! Bon voyage, Margaret! Safe travels!

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