As a former student-athlete, Susan Vietoris Reale DC’96, SCILS’96, DC’03 remembers how donor support of the Rutgers University Cheerleaders helped ease her financial burden. One gift provided her $200 toward books, and although the amount was nominal, “I still remember the sense of relief,” she says.

Susan and her husband, Andrew Reale—both of whom learned the value of philanthropy from their parents—have since made helping Rutgers student-athletes a priority. The couple started modestly and donated consistently, and now funds two endowed student-athlete scholarships, one specifically for women. In 2013, the Andrew and Susan Reale Endowed Scholarship was awarded to Claire Jones SAS’17, an elite gymnast from Gaffney, South Carolina, who earned it each of her four years.

With South Carolina’s low in-state  tuition and the fact that her friends and family remained, it would have been easy for Jones to stay in the South. The scholarship sealed Jones’s commitment to Rutgers, which she chose at the end of 10th grade, and helped her to shine once there. “With this scholarship, I’ve done so many good things,” she says.


Through their close relationship with Jones—attending meets when possible  and staying connected on social media—the Reales have seen the impact of their  support. In March, they cheered her on at the Big Ten Championships, which were held at Rutgers and where she earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Championships Team with a 9.875 vault.

The Reales are thrilled for Jones: with Jones’s personality, drive, and intelligence, “she’s going to do something amazing with her life,” says Susan, “and we’re a part of who she’s going to become.”