Empowering Students to Make Their Own Impact
For Perry Cozzone, giving back is a way to leave a lasting legacy — and stay connected to his roots.
Perry Cozzone ’83, M’88 admits it is exciting to get your name on a plaque. In his case, Perry got his father’s nickname immortalized on a segment of University Avenue — “Shack’s Way.”
But for Perry, the real highlight of giving back is empowering students who want to make their own difference in the world.
He vividly recalls receiving his first “thank you” letter from a recipient of his Future Leaders Endowment for scholar athletes.
“Wow, that was impactful,” Perry says. “Here’s someone who has all the credentials to be at the University, but just needs a bit of help to get there — showing vulnerability and giving genuine thanks.”
That impact is his motivation for staying connected to the University — as a former faculty member, current member of the President’s Corporate Advisory Board, and active supporter of the President’s Walk, Business & Public Management Center, and The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons.
Perry credits a similar cycle of empowerment for enabling him to reach his goals. Currently president and CEO of CRC Industries, a specialty chemical manufacturer, Perry traces his success back to his days as a WCU computer science student.
The first of his brothers fortunate enough to attend WCU, Perry found encouragement and direction from his parents and professors who helped him secure his first internship and job.
Perry Cozzone ’83, M’88
Donor, President’s Walk, Business & Public Management Center, Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons
“Here’s someone who has all the credentials to be at the University, but just needs a bit of help to get there — showing vulnerability and giving genuine thanks.”
“When I worked with the Foundation, I felt comfortable with their genuine vision of helping students win."
“I want to give back to the people and organizations that helped me,” Perry says. “When I worked with the Foundation, I felt comfortable with their genuine vision of helping students win. So anything I can do to help students be even better prepared than I was, I’m more than happy to do.”
Leading with Technology
Follow “Shack’s Way” to the steps of The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons and you’ll find a hands-on learning environment that leads straight to success.
Inside, students are using mannequins that blink and breathe to prepare for careers in respiratory therapy. Graduates function as advanced-level practitioners who evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders.
“When you go into a patient’s hospital room, you see the wall connections, the suctions, the pulse oximeter, and it can be a little intimidating,” says Juliette Saviello ’23. “Seeing everything here in a controlled environment is huge.”
“The simulation rooms are so realistic,” adds Claire Croft ’23.
When students practice skills like CPR, their professors can speak to them through the mannequins, mimicking real patients, or through wall monitors. Cameras and video recording software set the stage for group debriefs, where students can learn from their mistakes — and each other.
“We have such a comfortable space to learn,” says Ashley Troutman ’23. “I can’t imagine not getting this experience.”
Ashley adjusts the patient’s breathing tube to avoid skin breakdown.