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When you make a gift to support West Chester University, you decide where it impacts students’ lives—and how far we can go.
West Chester University's 'INCOMPARABLE' Golden Rams Marching Band Selected to perform in the 2024 Rose Parade®
The West Chester University “INCOMPARABLE” Golden Rams Marching Band will again represent West Chester University and the greater Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) on the international stage when they become the first marching band within the PASSHE system to march in the iconic 135th Rose Parade® presented by Honda on Monday, January 1, 2024. An annual tradition for more than 130 years, the Rose Parade has a television viewership of over 25 million people and a live attendance of about 700,000.
Each year, the Tournament of Roses Association® selects a small number of bands from a large pool of international applicants to perform in the Rose Parade that precedes college football’s Rose Bowl Game® in Pasadena, California. The competitive Rose Parade selection process uses a variety of criteria for invited participants that includes musicianship, marching ability and entertainment or special interest value. It is less common for a University band to be selected, save for the two marching bands representing the two Rose Bowl Game football teams.
“As a renowned musical legacy, the INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band continues to be a distinctive element at West Chester University and one that brings a great deal of pride to the entire community,” says West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. “Hailing from all disciplines and majors, 350 students juggle the academic rigor of the University with a demanding practice schedule. These outstanding students deserve this coveted opportunity, and we are thrilled that they will bring worldwide recognition to West Chester University, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
To fund travel expenses for the band’s 350 members, West Chester University launched the “RamBand Road to the Roses ‘24” initiative, which aims to raise $1 Million. Anchored by a $100,000 matching gift challenge from Dr. James Wells ’54 and Mr. Richard G. Wells ’58, who are both alumni and the namesakes for West Chester’s School of Music, the initiative invites donors to make a gift to be matched by March 10, 2023, which is West Chester University’s Charter Day of Giving. Gifts can be made at www.wcufoundation.org/ramband.
Dean of West Chester University’s Wells School of Music Christopher Hanning adds, “The INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band is the largest ensemble within West Chester University’s Wells School of Music. We kindly request the support of the entire University community, as well as the surrounding community and throughout Pennsylvania, so that the band’s 350-member ensemble can be seen and heard in its full majesty at the 2024 Rose Parade.”
Director of Athletic Bands Adam Gumble says, “Marching in the Rose Parade has been a longtime goal of the INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band. The highly competitive selection process means that only the world’s best marching bands are invited to perform. This recognition from the Tournament of Roses Association is yet another reminder that West Chester University’s marching band is truly INCOMPARABLE. We want to thank our students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans for their unyielding support of our program.”
The West Chester University INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band is a group of 300+ students that proudly represents West Chester University and the greater West Chester community. Comprised of students from more than 60 different majors, the marching band involves students from every segment of the campus population and is the largest student organization on campus. In addition to performing at local and regional parades and exhibitions, the “RamBand” has performed at prestigious events including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nashville Christmas Parade, National Football League games, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade, and Bands of America Regional and Grand National Championships! The West Chester University Golden Rams Marching Band has earned a national reputation as a leader in the marching arts and was named the recipient of the 2019 Sudler Trophy. The Sudler Trophy is presented biannually to a university marching band that demonstrates the highest standards of music performance, precision marching, and innovation in show design and is considered the “Heisman Trophy” for college marching bands. West Chester University is one of only 32 schools in the United States and the first NCAA Division II School to receive the award!
In 40 Years of Fundraising, WCU's Presidential Scholarship Community Gala Raises More Than $2.6 Million for Students
Each year, West Chester University’s Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala attracts numerous friends from throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to an annual benefit organized to fund Presidential Scholarships for West Chester University students who have earned academic distinction. This year’s benefit celebrated a triple Ruby Anniversary: Forty years ago, in 1983, the Presidential Scholarship program was first established; West Chester State College became West Chester University of Pennsylvania; and current President Christopher Fiorentino began teaching at the University.
More than 250 guests attended the premier event that was made possible thanks to Presenting Sponsor Aramark and numerous corporate sponsors. This year, the Gala raised more than $120,000 for the Presidential Scholarship, which is funded entirely by private donations. Since its inception, the Gala has raised more than $2.6 million dollars for WCU students through a renewable, four-year Presidential Scholarship.
Special guests included Jørgen Frydnes and Henrik Syse, members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and members of the West Chester University Council of Trustees: Sen. Robert M. Tomlinson ’70; Tara D. Chupka ’05; Jonathan Ireland ’95, M’03; Susan Yoder Schick ’88; and Betty Silfa.
President Fiorentino and Dr. Susan Fiorentino shared co-hosting roles with Gala committee co-chairs Elizabeth and Stephen Leonard. A 1972 and 1980 alumnus, Steve taught instrumental music and directed the marching band in Hatboro-Horsham School District before leaving teaching to start his own business, local Jobsite Products, Inc. Liz spent 30 years working for various doctors in the Abington Memorial Hospital system.
During the event, Kylie Funkhouser (pictured), a junior cell and molecular biology major, pre-medical student, and Presidential Scholar, spoke about the impact of donor contributions: “This scholarship made attending WCU very possible for me. I felt as if my hard work was not only recognized by the University but encouraged, and that is one of the most significant reasons I am here today.”
Funkhouser continued, “Now, after almost three years of attending WCU, I can gratefully say that the contributions of the University’s donors, leaders, and educators have paved the way for excellence in not only my own career path, but in the student population as a whole.”
“In the fall of 1983, we had 9,586 students enrolled and ‘Every Breath You Take’ by the Police was on the radio seemingly nonstop,” President Fiorentino shared. “The inside of Anderson Hall was not as beautiful as it is now, but I can remember walking up Church Street for my interview inside – for a one-year sabbatical replacement position. Needless to say, I got the job. And it changed my life.
“That’s the thing about West Chester University: We’re in the business of changing lives. Serving this institution is one of the greatest honors of my life. Equally rewarding is seeing how an education at West Chester University has changed the lives of our students.”
Presenting Sponsor: Aramark. Diamond Sponsors: Jobsite Products, Inc. and MacElree Harvey. Titanium Sponsor: H.B. Frazer Company. Gold Sponsors: Hobbs & Company, Inc.; Meridian Bank; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; Radius Systems; S&T Bank; Sodexo; University Student Housing, LLC; Visual Sound; and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. Silver Sponsors: Arthur Hall Insurance, Citadel Credit Union, The Elite Group, First Bank, Johnson Controls, NJM Insurance Group, The Protection Bureau, Patricia & James P. Shinehouse ’80, and TD Bank. Signature Drink Sponsor: SEI Investments Company. Bronze Sponsors: Balfour; Baker Tilly; Dilworth Paxson LLP; The Kienle Family: Denise, Jessica, Stephanie, and Joe (Golden Rams 4 Life); Martin’s Financial Consulting Group – Ameriprise; Philadelphia Phillies; WCU Alumni Association; and WCU Athletics.
See Your Impact
Every day, donors like you help WCU Foundation make important, lasting impact in students’ lives. Explore our stories to see what we’ve already accomplished together — and how we’ll continue to create ongoing success at WCU.
Boosting the Future of Biomedical Engineering
The pharma leader giving biomed students a boost.
Every Gift Counts
Gifts of $250 or less, from 3,308 donors, helped us hit our goals last year.
Over $4.1 million is scholarship funds was raised in 2020-21.
Invested in the Future
Donors have endowed more than $59 million to their passions at WCU.
Cycle of Success
Alumni and friends gave over $13.8 million in gifts and future commitments last year.
Building a Legacy
Last year, $4,095,000 was bestowed to support WCU via planned gifts.
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More than 1,100 friends of the University chose to give for the first time last year.
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What is the WCU Foundation?
West Chester University Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works with WCU’s president, vice presidents, and deans to plan and identify the funding to build a better University, today and tomorrow.