Couple establish science scholarship endowment to honor mentors

Shyam and Kathleen Suchdeo firmly believe people don’t succeed on their own.

“We stand on people’s shoulders,” Shyam (pronounced Shaum Such-dev) says. “A lot of people, both visible and invisible, play an important part in shaping our lives.”

“And there is God,” Kathleen added.

The Rose Marie & William Scharle ACCHS Science Scholarship Endowment Fund

In an expression of deep gratitude for an influential mentor who guided Shyam during his 33-year career as an engineer at Air Products, the Suchdeos established the Rose Marie & William Scharle ACCHS Science Scholarship Endowment Fund with the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania.  The endowment supports at least two science scholarships for female students entering their junior and senior years at Allentown Central Catholic High School. The student recipients will have excelled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and have an interest in pursuing a career in engineering after graduation.

Bill Scharle’s career at Air Products spanned 38 years. He served as Vice President of Engineering, Operations and Manufacturing and then Group VP of the Process Systems Group when he retired in 1989. Although Shyam was never a direct report to Scharle, he valued him as a mentor.

“Bill counseled me along the way and always watched out for me,” Shyam recalls. “I could feel his hand guiding me throughout my career.”

A Catholic Legacy of Faith, Love and Generosity

Bill and Rose Marie (known as Bunny) both were graduated from Allentown Central Catholic High School (1946 and 1947, respectively). They reconnected after Bill finished his undergraduate degree from Villanova and graduate degree at Lehigh University. Bunny was a graduate of Kutztown University and taught elementary school for the Allentown School District.

The Scharles were married in 1952 and shared a wonderful 67 years together until Bunny’s death in 2019. Bill died in 2022. Together they passed on their philosophy of faith, hard work, and benevolence to their five children and their families, and to others in the Lehigh Valley community.

Both were active at the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Allentown where Bill was a life-long member. Bill was active in numerous Catholic-related organizations, causes and building campaigns including Sacred Heart Hospital, Holy Family Manor Nursing Home, Central Catholic High School and Serra Club.

“Our family is touched by the sincere generosity and humble spirit of giving shown by Shyam and Kathleen to remember our parents with this scholarship,” Jane Scharle O’Neill says. “As a female engineer, I am excited that the scholarships are geared toward encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers, particularly in engineering.”

The Scharle scholarship endowment is the seventh fund established by the Suchdeos in honor of valuable mentors who have impacted their lives from high school, college, graduate school and in their careers.