Gregory Seltzer Receives Andrew Budraitis Foundation’s First Veterans Scholarship
Gregory Seltzer wasn’t expecting a chance encounter to lead to a new scholarship opportunity.
The student veteran was volunteering at DeSales’ Vietnam War Commemoration Ceremony back in March when he first learned about the Andrew Budraitis Foundation’s Lehigh Valley Veterans Scholarship.
“One of the people in attendance was Andrew’s son, Brian, one of the founders of this scholarship,” says Seltzer. “He approached me and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this scholarship. We would love it if you were able to pass it out to other people in the veterans community here at DeSales.’”
Seltzer did just that and figured he might as well apply too. He had spent four years serving in the Marine Corps, playing trumpet with the Marine Band while stationed in San Diego. While he loved his time in the service, Seltzer says he wanted to pursue another career path. He already had some community college credits under his belt. When it came time to continue his education, DeSales stood out.
“DeSales has more of a well-built veterans program. It seemed a lot more welcoming. Another great benefit was the number of credits that I could transfer. And there’s the faith aspect too. I feel like a lot of the values align.”
After learning of the Andrew Budraitis Foundation’s scholarship, Seltzer was tasked with writing an essay explaining how his accounting major relates to the STEM field. Alyssa Budraitis, a 1993 alumna who cofounded the foundation in her husband’s memory, says Seltzer’s positivity and thoughtful approach left a lasting impression on the selection committee.
“Gregory truly took the time in his application responses with great care and intellectual thoughtfulness,” says Budraitis. “He came across as highly motivated and determined. He struck me as someone with a servant leadership mentality with great thought towards others.”
Both Budraitis and her husband (pictured below) had successful careers in information technology at Air Products. When Andrew, a veteran who took night classes at Muhlenberg College after leaving the Army, passed away unexpectedly in 2021, the family knew they wanted to do something to honor him and give back to the local community.
“Andy and I knew that our education was instrumental in the advancement of our careers. Without that degree, I would have never advanced to vice president and chief information officer at Air Products. I feel greatly blessed in my life and career.”
The foundation awards $7,500 annual scholarships to Lehigh Valley veterans and Lehigh Valley high school graduates majoring in a STEM field, with priority given to those with financial need. Moving forward, Budraitis says, the foundation will keep the STEM requirement on its non-veteran scholarships. But, starting in 2023, it will be expanding the field of study for veteran scholarships.
Seltzer, who also serves as president of DeSales’ chapter of Student Veterans of America, plans to finish his accounting degree in December. He says he’s honored and grateful to be named the first recipient of the foundation’s veterans scholarship.
“You hear a lot of talk about ‘Oh, we want to help our veterans succeed and transition,’” he says. “But I feel like I haven’t seen as much of that come to fruition. I’m able to see that with the veterans office here on campus. With this scholarship, it feels like there’s someone else out there that’s trying to help, and I really appreciate it.”