Gone, But Not Forgotten

A $100,000 gift from a young alumnus honors the memory of classmate Todd Isaac '94, who was killed on 9/11

By Christine Hofmann-Bourque


Thousands of people every day pass by panel N-56 on New York City's National September 11 Memorial where the name of 1994 Holy Cross alumnus "Todd Antione Isaac" is inscribed in bronze. Some are in search of the name of a loved one killed on that terrible blue-sky morning, while others, who didn't know personally any of the close to 3,000 victims, stop to pay their respects. With the passing of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, many worry that eventually fewer footsteps will trek to this hallowed ground, and the memories of those lost will dim. The new Todd A. Isaac Memorial Scholarship hopes to keep the light shining brightly for years to come on the interrupted life of Isaac, a Holy Cross basketball star with a big personality and an even bigger heart.

The 40-year-old donor who funded the scholarship with a gift of $100,000 wishes to keep his own name out of the spotlight. "I don't want it to be about me," says Isaac's friend and classmate, who stipulated that the scholarship must benefit someone like him: an ALANA student from New York City. "I want it to be about the gift and the opportunity that it's going to provide kids like Todd."

Prior to the September 11 attack, life was good for Isaac, who was then 29 and living a wonderful life in New York, residing in the city with his friend, Troy Dixon '93. Recently made partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, the prestigious financial firm that occupied the 101st to 105th floors of One World Trade Center, Isaac had worked exceptionally hard for his success. He had lost his father when he was young, and was raised in a rough neighborhood in New York; Isaac won a scholarship to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., then headed to Worcester.

"Todd loved, absolutely loved, loved Holy Cross," says the donor. "He loved everybody at Holy Cross. He loved the avenues it opened up for him. It was a big part of his life, and who he was."

Isaac would have been proud to have a scholarship in his name. "Todd was incredibly cognizant of the opportunities allotted to him and how they might not be open to a lot of people in his situation," says his friend. "This is something he'd have wanted to do, had he been given the opportunity to pay it forward. If I can do it in his name and for him, it completes the circle."

The gift honors both Isaac and Holy Cross. "I am so appreciative of the fact that Todd was in my life for the dozen years I knew him," he continues. "This is a part of me thanking Holy Cross for giving Todd to me. And maybe opening another opportunity for the next Todd or the next kid who needs a little open door to accomplish great things."

Isaac's legacy will, in part, be the many high school and college students who will get an education in his name. In addition to the Holy Cross scholarship fund, a Todd A. Isaac Memorial Scholarship was endowed last year at Phillips Academy, funded by Todd's friends from Andover, Holy Cross and his business associates.

The new Holy Cross scholarship received one of its first additional donations this fall, thanks to a golf fundraiser in Isaac's memory, organized by his hall mates from Clark II. "Todd was a larger-than-life figure, not only within our class but with anybody who graduated before or after, that shared time with him on campus," says Donato Monaco '94. "It demonstrates the fabric and strength of the Holy Cross community that someone so young would endow something in Todd's name. It's awesome."

Isaac's friends will continue to ensure his life makes a difference. "I know how hard it is to keep people thinking about the ones we lost," says Monaco, who had four friends killed on 9/11. "But in Todd's case, people seem to be thinking about him all the time, not just on September 11th. I hope the people who receive that scholarship, and their family and friends, take a moment and pause to ask, 'Who was Todd Isaac? Wow, he sounds like an amazing person.' "   ■