Alumni Counseling and Mental Health School of Health Professions and Human Services Top Stories

New Scholarship for Substance Abuse Counseling Student

Prescription Opioids

The School of Health Professions and Human Services is offering a new scholarship for a graduate student who is interested in working in substance abuse counseling, beginning with the fall 2018 semester. 

The Karen Keer Hale ‘71 and Christopher C. Hale Annual Scholarship will award $5,000 every semester for five semesters to one student in the mental health counseling program who is pursuing a specialized certificate in alcohol and substance abuse counseling (CASAC). The $25,000 scholarship was established by alumnus Charles Hale ’71 in the name of his late wife and their son.

Charles, Karen, and Christopher Hale

Hale’s wife passed away in late 2016 after a serious illness. She was a partner in the market research firm Johansen Hale for 35 years; after her retirement, she became well known for her work as a dedicated volunteer among hospice patients in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

“Alcohol and drug abuse have become a major problem affecting people in all walks of life,” said Hale, who was moved to fund the scholarship after learning about the country’s growing opioid crisis, which claims an average of 115  people a day from overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Now, more than ever before, there is a great need for well-trained mental health professionals in our communities who specialize in these areas and can help reverse this trend.”

Hofstra’s alcohol and substance abuse counseling certificate program prepares students to work with individuals, families, and groups in numerous settings focusing on mental health and substance abuse. Students completing this specialized track meet the educational requirements for full CASAC certification from New York state, and have the opportunity to earn credit toward clinical experience and internship requirements.

The Hale family has been generous in its support of Hofstra before. In 2016, the Hales established the Karen Keer Hale’71 and Charles R. Hale’71 Scholarship with an endowment of $100,000. The scholarship is awarded annually to two students, one in performing or fine arts and another in film/television studies.

Both awards celebrate the family’s longtime connection to Hofstra, where Charles and Karen met in a finance class during Charles’ last semester. Their relationship blossomed after they realized they shared a love of skiing, which took them to slopes all across the United States and Europe. They married in 1978.

Additionally, Charles credits his time at Hofstra with providing the foundation for his early career success in business, as well as his ongoing passion for storytelling and the arts as the founder of Charles R. Hale Productions in New York City.

A writer and producer of numerous shows, he is also co-founder and artistic director of Artists Without Walls, an organization that promotes multiculturalism and diversity through the arts, as well as a resident artist at The Cell Theatre.

“We are thrilled with the generosity and support of the Hale family,” said Holly Seirup, dean of the School of Health Professions and Human Services.  “This scholarship will have a profound impact on a deserving mental health counseling student by allowing them to follow their passion to help others.  Scholarships such as these allow us to recruit and retain stellar students, which benefits our communities and at the same time enhances our program’s reputation and prestige.”

Applicants for CASAC certification and scholarship will be chosen on the basis of academic record and demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in substance abuse counseling, among other requirements. For more information, contact Nicolle Tumminelli, assistant dean of recruitment and external relations, at

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