Dick Belkin '56 and Sherry Belkin
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Dick Belkin '56 and Sherry Belkin

When Dick Belkin graduated from Hillyer College in 1956, he couldn’t have imagined the path his life would take.

Belkin, who graduated from nearby Newington High School, didn’t immediately have the funds to attend college. He worked for a year before enrolling at Hillyer and, with the help of scholarship aid, completed his degree. “I promised myself that if I ever made a buck, I would give them back the money,” said Belkin.

Dick and Sherry BelkinBelkin went on to earn a master’s degree from Syracuse University in television and radio broadcasting. This was in 1956—when no one really knew much about television yet, a brand new industry at the time. Belkin thought it would be a great career but he was then drafted and spent the next two years in Germany with the U.S. Army Special Services division. He toured Europe as an entertainer for the troops and later made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show

“When I finally returned home, I got a job in broadcasting and the rest is history,” said Belkin.

Belkin started off at two television stations in upstate New York. He did a little bit of everything: directing, producing, advertising, and working as an on-air talent for a local children’s program. Eventually, he worked his way into a management role and became vice president and general manager for several stations owned by Lee Enterprises, Inc. Belkin was a pioneer in the field of closed-circuit television and even co-produced The Most Beautiful Woman in the World contest, the first broadcast show of its kind where people could vote by phone.

“I started as a guy who pushed cameras around, and ended up as a guy who was running the whole show on stations from West Virginia to Hawaii,” Belkin said.

Belkin’s successful career in broadcasting lasted more than 40 years but he never forgot about the promise he made to himself as a Hillyer student. In 1995, Belkin and his wife, Sherry, endowed the Belkin Scholarship for promising business students at the University. Additionally, the Belkins have made a planned gift that will add roughly $6,000 each year in perpetuity to that scholarship fund.

“After I retired, Sherry and I decided that it was important to pay back those folks at Hillyer College who gave me a scholarship. It’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

“I’m happy to know that the funds we’re providing will support the kids who are going off to make this a better world,” said Belkin. “The world is counting on these graduates. They will be the leaders of the future. If we can play a small role in helping them, it would be terrific.”