WCU Community Gala Raises $140,000 to Benefit Students

West Chester University's 36th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala, a benefit designed to fund Presidential Scholarships for WCU students who have demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence, raised more than $140,000. It exceeds the highest dollar amount ever raised by the 35 year-old Gala and represents almost 60 percent more than that raised at the community black-tie event in 2018.

For the first time in Gala history, an anonymous donor offered a $20,000 match for all funds raised. An additional surprise $20,000 match was announced during the evening's live auction, given by Brigadier General Richard D. Merion '59, M'69, H'09 and Jeanette Merion H'09, generous and loyal supporters of the University for more than three decades.

The University hosted this year's Gala, themed Barbados: Charting the Course for Student Success, at Longwood Gardens, a first-time venue for the popular event. More than 350 alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students of the University, including community and corporate partners, were in attendance, as were 2018-19 Presidential Scholarship recipients, first-year students Hannah Stevens from Hatfield, PA and Allison Weissman from Hackettstown, NJ. First-year student Peter Matuszak accepted the scholarship award prior to the Gala, as he competed with the WCU Men's Golf team at the Oglebay Resort Intercollegiate Tournament.

"When I first arrived at the WCU Foundation, we were faced with the opportunity to change the Gala format and location," shares Foundation Chief Executive Officer Christopher Mominey. "We painted a new vision and set new expectations; now that vision has become a reality. We are proud to continue partnering with the University to support generations of students."

What does the future hold? WCU President Christopher Fiorentino noted in his opening remarks for the evening that beginning in fall 2020, the University will successfully support seven students annually with renewable $3,000 scholarships. The majority of the recipients are in the STEM, allied health, and professional fields of education, business, and music, and each has received a personal letter from President Fiorentino congratulating them on their academic excellence and selection for this prestigious scholarship.

Pictured (from left to right) are Dr. Susan Fiorentino, Allison Weissman, Hannah Stevens, and President Christopher Fiorentino.

Meet the Recipients of West Chester University's 2018-19 Presidential Scholarship

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