The Robin L. Kaplan ’90/TJX Companies Memorial Scholarship
Criteria: (Ten $1,000 Awards) The Robin L. Kaplan ’90/TJX Companies Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to economically disadvantaged students of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds who demonstrate both need and academic merit. Applicants must be enrolled full-time.
Robin Kaplan, Class of 1990, was born May 15, 1968, and died tragically on September 11, 2001, when the plane she was flying on, American Airlines Flight 11, was hijacked by terrorists and used to crash into the World Trade Center. The Robin Kaplan/TJX Scholarship honors her memory as a TJX employee and as an alumna of Worcester State University.
Growing up in Framingham, Mass., Robin was a happy child and loved to learn. She won the admiration of her teachers at Juniper Hills Elementary School, Cameron Middle School, Framingham North High School, and Worcester State University. Excelling in her studies, she applied and was accepted by many prestigious schools; but wanted the small, intimate setting of Worcester State University. She enrolled as a psychology major, lived in Dowden Hall and made many friends.
Robin was an extremely giving person, known as the “peacemaker” among her friends. Before and after she graduated, she worked at jobs that required interaction with people, including a job working with troubled youth, but it wasn’t until she was hired by TJX Companies that she found her niche. TJX is the world’s leading retailer of apparel and home fashions. She was a quick learner and was soon promoted from technical support to senior technical support, and later went to the Implementation Division and was promoted to senior equipment specialist. Her job took her across the country to new clothing stores to make sure that all the equipment was functioning properly before they opened. She was tall, slender and had a quiet manner, but her sweet, persuasive personality always got the job done without ruffling any feathers. Her supervisors admired the unique leadership quality that she had.
In 1995, Robin was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a serious gastrointestinal illness, but it was mild and did not interfere with her life. At the end of 2000, her condition worsened and she had to take an extended leave from the job she loved. After her surgery, she returned to work and began making plans to fly out to a store in California. She became an advocate for a cure of Crohn’s Disease and intended to participate in the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Walk-a-thon in September, but unfortunately her life was taken before she could take those steps. The University was deeply saddened by her loss and pays tribute to Robin by having her name live on in scholarship assistance to others.
The scholarship, established in 1997 by the TJX Foundation, the charitable arm of TJX, was renamed the Robin Kaplan/TJX Scholarship in 2001 after Robin’s death. TJX lost several employees on Flight 11. The TJX Foundation supports families and children in need in areas where the company has a presence. TJX opened its first two stores in Worcester in 1975. Part of the Foundation’s mission is to enhance education and job readiness. The Robin Kaplan/TJX Scholarships assist Worcester State University students in their efforts to pay for a college education.