Alfred University News

Endowment gift from Kristen ’92 and Alex Klabin supports success of Alfred University students

Kristen Caruso Klabin ’92, ’93 M.S.
Kristen Caruso Klabin ’92, ’93 M.S.

A new initiative at Alfred University funded by a gift from alumna and Board of Trustee member Kristen Caruso Klabin ’92, ’93 M.S. and her husband, Alex, will put students on the path to academic success by maximizing the use of available campus resources.


ALFRED, NY – A new initiative at Alfred University funded by a gift from alumna and Board of Trustee member Kristen Caruso Klabin ’92, ’93 M.S. and her husband, Alex, will put students on the path to academic success by maximizing the use of available campus resources.

The Saxon Success Program is funded by a significant gift from the Klabins. The gift is primarily toward establishing an endowment but also includes some initial startup funding to hire a program coordinator/mental health counselor in the Wellness Center. The coordinator will oversee the work of a team of graduate assistants in the College Student Development, School Counseling, and School Psychology programs, who will advise students, providing a support system that ensures they have the tools and resources they need to succeed.

The program coordinator will supervise graduate assistants, who will provide guidance to undergraduate students, referring them to wide array of on-campus resources available to students. Those services—which will not duplicate those already offered on campus—include guidance, prevention, planning, collaboration/consulting, and basic advising/coaching. Kristen Klabin said she has long recognized a need to focus on promoting the whole well-being of students.

“I have been thinking about this program for a long time,” said Klabin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in School Counseling from Alfred University. “As a psychology major and a graduate of the Masters of School Counseling program at AU, I value the foundation for strong mental health and wellness development. Alex and I wanted to support a proactive and comprehensive initiative focusing on the social, emotional, and academic success of all Alfred University students.”

 “Kristen and Alex Klabin’s marvelous commitment to diversify and strengthen our Wellness Center is both inspiring and impactful,” said Alfred University President Mark Zupan. “Their support will positively impact the counseling services that we provide to our students and thereby promote student well-being and success.”

Graduate assistants will be available to meet with undergraduates and refer them to a broad array of available services provided through the Wellness Center, Center for Academic Success, and Center for Advising. Those services include, but are not limited to, supplemental instruction and tutoring as well as counseling. Graduate assistant will also provide advisement on Applied Experiential (APEX) Learning Program opportunities through the Career Development Center; and support available through programs offered by the Center for Student Involvement, which include Student Activities and Institute for Cultural Unity.

Klabin noted that the Saxon Success Program, by helping students achieve their goals, will support recruitment and retention initiatives contained in Alfred University’s Strategic Plan. “This program involves many people, programs, and services coming together at the intersection and demonstrates that it still takes a village.”

The program benefits graduate students by providing them with a hands-on learning opportunity. One of the primary objectives of the program is to proactively address potential problems that could inhibit student success. Graduate assistant will be trained on how to identify potential issues and direct students to the appropriate resource, direct students to programs and initiatives aimed at keeping them engaged in the Alfred University experience, and collaborate with faculty and staff on how to address problems students are facing.

The program will be offered as a pilot during the 2020-21 academic year and will serve sophomores, as first-year students are assigned an academic adviser and an academic success coach through the Center for Academic Success.