Donor Profiles

mcgrathsPhillip and Carolyn McGrath

“It’s sometimes difficult to put into words personal feelings and recollections when writing or thinking about individuals who have passed and left an impression on your life,” said attorney Ralph Fresolone when remembering his longtime generous friends, Phillip and Carolyn McGrath. Ralph recalled the McGraths, who lived in Port Jefferson, New York, as devout and caring people who touched many lives in wondrous ways.

One of the couple’s final acts of generosity came in the form of a bequest to Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. This gracious bequest in the amount of $393,856 to each establishment (for a total amount of $787,713) reflected the couple’s charitable intent to devote a major portion of their estate to the care of children.

Phillip and Carolyn were childhood sweethearts who met while they were students at St. Brigid's Elementary School in Queens in 1937. Phil was a trade school graduate and excelled in carpentry. Carolyn was a graduate of Grover Cleveland High School and fine-tuned her skills as a secretary in a finishing school. For most of their lives the couple lived in New Hyde Park, New York, and worked together at the Nassau Community College Bookstore where Phil held the position of Director for several decades, and Carolyn was always right beside him balancing the bookstore’s accounts. Beginning with their childhood sweetheart days, they remained a devoted and loving couple for 73 years.

“During their final years they took particular interest in my young daughter who is on the autism spectrum,” Ralph said. The McGraths, who had no children of their own, expressed that they had wanted to do something for his daughter and asked that he recommend a charity that was dedicated to the welfare of children with disabilities. Ralph told them about the Cody Center and the care that the nurturing physicians and staff provided his family and daughter over the years. He also told the McGraths about Stony Brook’s new children’s hospital. “Without hesitation they asked me to make certain that I provide a prominent place in their estate plan for the Cody Center and Stony Brook Children’s.

Today, under the leadership of Physician-in-Chief, Margaret McGovern, MD, PhD, Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital provides the most innovative pediatric healthcare in the region. “Offering a facility where we can continue to provide the most advanced care for the community’s children is an enormous undertaking—and it is one we cannot do alone. The generous and thoughtful bequest from the McGrath estate will allow us to create a higher standard of children’s healthcare, and attract pediatric specialists and research funding,” said Dr. McGovern.

The Estate of Philip J. McGrath will indeed leave a lasting impact and impression on the lives of children who require specialized care. But for Ralph, he’ll hold on to the simple truth that Phil and Carolyn McGrath will always be remembered by him “as two of the most caring and loving people I have ever met.”

—Karen Ciardullo

If you would like to remember Stony Brook with a bequest or planned gift, please contact André P. Gorgenyi, Senior Director of Planned Giving, Toll Free at 1-855-728-4438 or

About the Stony Brook Foundation
The Stony Brook Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1965 as the University’s sole repository for philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other organizations in support of Stony Brook University. The Foundation administers the University’s scholarship funds. Every dollar donated for scholarships goes directly to scholarships—no administrative fee is charged on scholarship accounts. For more information about contributing to our scholarship funds or creating an endowed named undergraduate scholarship or graduate fellowship, please call the Advancement Office at (631) 632-6300 or visit us online.