Kim Marie Kozaczek was a stellar student at Marlboro High School and could have earned admission to virtually any college or university in the country in 1977. But, her parents felt very strongly that Orange County Community College would prepare her for a successful future just as it had for three of her older cousins. Today, 30 years after Kim’s graduation from the College, it’s obvious her parents were correct and that she made the right decision.
It was a straightforward deal that Stanley and Julia Kozaczek offered their high-school-age daughter Kim Marie in the late 1970s: attend any four-year State University of New York school she wanted—but only a state school—or go to nearby Orange County Community College for two years, get a car and transfer to any four-year school in the country, regardless of price or location.
Kim’s decision was simple. She took the black 1977 Monte Carlo and enrolled at Orange County Community College.
“Money wasn’t flush in those days,” says Julia, who still resides in the Orange County hamlet of Middle Hope where she and Stanley raised Kim. Stanley operated Kozaczek Brothers, his family’s fuel-injection and diesel repair business along Route 9W near the Ulster County line. Julia, until retiring in her 70s, worked for many years as a coronary care nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh. Stanley and Julia did their best to instill in Kim a commitment to education and a strong work ethic.
“Our family was oriented toward education,” Julia adds. “The only way you get anywhere is with an education. The College was rated number two in the country for community colleges back then and that was a deciding factor as my sister and I researched schools. (Attending SUNY Orange) was nice for Kim because she was able to keep her job, earn money and get her schooling. She didn’t have to struggle.”
“I don’t know where my life would be if I had not attended Orange County Community College. It gave me a chance, at a very early age, to find what I liked. That allowed me to be focused on a goal and achieve that goal.”
As the youngest of nine brothers and sisters, Julia knew a bit about struggling. She was one of just two siblings in her family to attend college, having graduated from Fordham University’s nursing school. By the time Julia—with the help of her oldest sister Olga Shumake—began researching college options for Kim, her extended family had already beaten a well-worn path between the apple orchards of Marlboro and the College’s Middletown campus.
All three of Olga’s children, who were significantly older than Kim, had graduated from the College and were already entrenched in successful careers as Kim was approaching her high school graduation. Patricia (Shumake) Allen was among the College’s earliest graduates, accepting her degree in social sciences in 1953. She went on to graduate from the University of Delaware in 1955 and later received her master’s from Tufts University. After starting her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, Allen ultimately received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Steven Shumake graduated from SUNY Orange in 1961, followed one year later by James Shumake. Steve, like his sister Patty, also earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D.in psychology (his from Florida State University in Tallahassee). Jim went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry at Florida State and a master’s degree from Oregon State University.
“That was the paradigm, at least as far as college was concerned, that my mom worked in,” Kim says, adding that, in all, her extended family has seen many members either attend or graduate from the College. Because Kim’s cousins had embarked upon their successful academic and professional careers at Orange County Community College, Julia was convinced her daughter could also parlay a two-year degree into something much greater.
And she did. After completing her degree in business administration in 1979, Kim transferred to Georgetown University—one of 11 schools to which she applied and was accepted—where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1981. Two years later, she passed her Certified Public Accountant exam and promptly enrolled in the Syracuse University College of Law, earning her law degree, cum laude, in 1986. Later, she returned to law school, this time to Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an LLM in tax law, with honors.
Today, 30 years after departing SUNY Orange, Kim (Kozaczek) Boylan is an accomplished tax lawyer in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation from law school, she clerked for a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims and then went into private law practice. In 1995, she became a partner at Mayer Brown and since 2002 she has been a partner at Latham and Watkins, an international law firm that employs more than 2,100 lawyers in 27 offices worldwide. Boylan specializes in tax controversy, international tax and, because of her accounting background, accounting policy matters.