The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

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via The Huntington
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LMC community gathers to honor Matt Shaw, raises money for fund


This past Saturday night, the Bethany Baptist Church was alive with the sounds of the renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers in a benefit for the late Matt Shaw, a Le Moyne graduate of the class of 2012 who was tragically killed just months after graduation. The Jubilee Singers hail from Fisk University in Nashville, TN and have been performing since 1871. Their program consisted of Negro Spirituals that were sung a capella.

Directed by Paul Kwami, the Jubilee Singers consist of 16 members and are on tour across the United States from October through May. Their program consisted of noted hymns like “Ain’a That Good News” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

All proceeds from the concert will be directed toward the recently conceived “Matt Shaw Fund.” According to, the mission of the fund is to “level the playing field so that all students, regardless of their economic circumstances, can participate in programs that strengthen the education they receive at Le Moyne.”

The night began with remarks from Le Moyne English professor, Dr. Ann Ryan, and the assistant vice president for student development, Barb Karper. Both gave beaming remarks about Shaw’s charisma and character.

“He didn’t just walk, he glided,” Ryan said. She added that during times when they would have debates and banter in her Harlem Renaissance class, “as soon as he flashed his smile, I knew I had lost.”

Prominent members of the Syracuse and Le Moyne community were in attendance as well. Local congressman Dan Maffei was in attendance along with Le Moyne president, Dr. Fred Pestello.

Pestello gave a speech commenting on how the Shaw Fund exemplifies the values Le Moyne stands for, and how this only strengthens them by allowing students to have opportunities they may not have had otherwise. “When a student arrives on our campus, they become a part of our family, not just for the brief four years that they are here on The Heights, but for the rest of their lives,” Pestello said.

“The fund supports student academic enrichment by helping to finance academic travel, professional conferences and other opportunities,” according to

The event was well received by those in attendance.

“I didn’t know Matt, but I could see how much he influenced people because everyone had something nice to say about him,” Junior Natalie Martin said. “I’m proud to go to a school that goes out its way to show their appreciation for their students.”

Making the trip up from Shaw’s hometown of Harlem, NY were many of his close relatives, including his sister, Princess, a 2009 Le Moyne graduate and his mother, Paula Shaw-Leary.

Shaw-Leary was very complimentary of the fund and how it reflected her son. “You can’t help but love Matt,” she said. “Not only by his family, but by the people he came to meet at Le Moyne.”

She was also pleased with how the night transpired, adding, “He would have loved this, and I’m sure he’s smiling down on us.”

Shaw’s community is still struck by his loss. Shaw-Leary told a brief story of how a man from their neighborhood came up to her and said, “Matt was supposed to start a business, now who am I supposed to work for?”

Before his passing, Shaw had planned to begin his graduate studies in economics at the University of Albany that fall.

Despite being unable to achieve his dream of attending graduate school, Shaw-Leary says she’s still so grateful so many people at Le Moyne were rooting for him. “I’m grateful to Le Moyne, because it keeps me strong knowing a lot of people believed in him,” she said.

To date, the Matt Shaw Fund has amassed over $14,000 in under two years, with the concert bringing in an estimated $300 more after expenses. The biggest group of contributors to the fund was the class of 2013 who donated approximately $3,000.

For further information regarding the Matt Shaw Fund, its mission and how to donate, contact Kate Cogswell, director of annual giving and stewardship, at 315-445-6124, or [email protected].

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