Individual donors and partner organizations are propelling WCU students to greater success. Discover the latest happenings from across our Foundation’s initiatives.
Lenovo’s Gift of Laptops Benefits Promise Program Students
As the pandemic shuttered businesses and higher education in March, West Chester University students who lacked technology did not lack support. While staff in WCU Information Services and Technologies (IS&T) rallied resources – and their own determination – to ensure students could continue their courses remotely, the West Chester University Foundation was addressing needs from behind the scenes.
One of the early success stories involves nearly $20,000 in laptops donated by Lenovo through initial dialogue with Teresa Hudson, director of IS&T’s Educational Technologies & User Services. The IS&T Help Desk team was able to quickly configure and get these laptops to WCU students in need so that they could continue their coursework remotely. WCU proudly recognizes Lenovo for donating 26 laptops to students in the University’s Promise Program, which supports unaccompanied homeless and foster youth.
As WCU’s Single Point of Contact for unaccompanied foster and homeless youth, Tori Nuccio, interim associate director of Financial Aid, said that within a week of announcing the move to alternate modes of instruction, “We distributed some of these laptops to students who did not have their own computers. The Promise Program is extremely grateful to Lenovo and the team in IS&T who was able to set these laptops up for student use before our transition to remote work.”
The donation was coordinated through the WCU Foundation. Helen Hammerschmidt, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the foundation, cited the huge impact this collaboration offers the University’s most vulnerable students and said the donation came at a time “when so many of our students are in need of critical technology to stay on track with their education. Shining a light on this donation elevates not just Lenovo’s commitment to social responsibility, but also the plight of students across the country who lack the basic necessities we all take for granted.”
David Hamilton, Lenovo’s public relations lead, North America, noted that Lenovo’s inspiration to support the WCU Promise Program arose from the company’s commitment “to increasing access to opportunity by providing smarter technology to all. The students served through the Promise Program have faced significant adversity. We hope the technology provided will help them further their educational goals.”
Lenovo is a Fortune Global 500 company with 57,000 employees and operating in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society. By designing, engineering and building the world’s most complete portfolio of smart devices and infrastructure, they are also leading an intelligent transformation to create better experiences and opportunities for millions of customers around the world.
Lenovo Foundation and Community Relations invests in advancing STEM Education programs, increasing access to opportunity for diverse populations, and empowering employees to improve global communities.
For an additional look at how businesses have helped our students adapt during the pandemic, as well as ways the University is helping the community, visit WCU’s Business and Community Partners web page.
Working Together: WCU & the Chester County Community
As neighbors help neighbors all across the nation, communities continue to lift the human spirit by working together in ways, great and small, to defy the impacts of COVID-19. Evidence of this could not be more apparent than in the numerous partnerships, acts of kindness, and goodwill that have been generated by the many faculty, students, staff, and alumni of West Chester University. Reaching deep into Chester County and beyond, the University’s community of educators has joined forces to act as a resource for area citizens, as well as a mighty collective that has welcomed rolling-up its sleeves to help in whatever way it can.
The West Chester University Foundation has just released a communication to businesses, community partners, and the University community that details the numerous ways that WCU is working actively to help its neighbors and friends during this unprecedented time. From sending healthy snacks to Chester County Hospital to promoting local restaurants that are open for delivery/takeout to helping children in the community to everything in between, WCU has joined many in Chester County in order to make a difference.
Providing valuable WCU resources has been a critical component of this ongoing effort. Now more than ever, businesses located in the University’s backyard need boots-on-the-ground to help them survive in today’s unsettling environment and thrive in tomorrow’s changed workplace. The examples are as diverse as they are many and include WCU’s School of Business offering free marketing support from senior marketing majors to area businesses impacted by the global health crisis; the Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center providing free summer virtual interns for startups and small businesses; the Twardowski Career Development Center continuing to support business’ brand presence within the WCU community through opportunities like virtual mock interviews, virtual resume reviews, and general information sessions; and the growing list continues.
“Keeping everyone in our community safe, while supporting the success of our students, remains a priority,” said West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino. “I could not be more proud of the people who comprise this University and make WCU what it is every day. Our community’s desire to come together, act, and respond in intentional ways is fueled by the fact that we welcome challenges. We welcome being a catalyst. We welcome being a partner that can be relied upon.”
“As a critical anchor institution in the region that contributes more than $500 million in economic impact and with a community of students and faculty that approaches 20,000 people, WCU is here for you to be a resource as you navigate the uncharted waters ahead,” stated WCU Foundation CEO Christopher Mominey and Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations Helen Hammerschmidt in a joint letter to partners in the community.
$114,023 Raised for Student Emergency Aid Fund
Celebrating student excellence each year, West Chester University’s Presidential Scholarship Community Gala draws more than 400 friends from the Commonwealth to an annual benefit designed to fund Presidential Scholarships for WCU students who have earned academic distinction. Like many events in the nation this year, however, the spring 2020 scholarship gala was cancelled due to a global pandemic that has prompted the necessity to practice social distancing and limit public gatherings. Upon hearing the financial challenges that students and their families continue to experience due to the COVID-19 outbreak, numerous sponsors of the gala have made the decision to redirect their gifts to a Student Emergency Aid Fund that has been explicitly established to help students who have been impacted directly by the global health crisis. To date, $114,023 has been given by generous community partners and individuals to the essential-need Fund launched by the WCU Foundation.
“Scholarship assistance, housing, food, basic goods, and services—countless avenues of support for our students are required at this critical time,” wrote WCU Foundation CEO Christopher Mominey in a letter to alumni and other friends of the University. “The WCU Foundation, in collaboration with our dedicated corporate partners, has established the Student Emergency Aid Fund to assist WCU students who are experiencing hardships and finding themselves with financial and emotional struggles that they never saw coming.”
The Student Emergency Aid Fund will assist WCU students who are facing technology gaps that were previously filled through existing on-campus resources; confronting unanticipated expenses due to reduced work hours; experiencing financial aid and tuition payment difficulties; and who are working through the new challenge of completing the semester remotely.
West Chester University students who are experiencing difficulty due to the COVID-19 pandemic are urged to apply for assistance through the following link: Student Emergency Aid Appeal. Members of the community who wish to help these West Chester University students are invited to visit http://go.wcufoundation.org/student-aid to learn more.
As a University practice, it remains important to intentionally uncover and then remove barriers that impede student success. In addition to the Student Emergency Aid Fund, annual Presidential Scholarships are awarded to students who merit academic distinction. Since its inception in 1983, the Gala has raised more than $1.2 million in scholarship dollars for such West Chester University students. Funded entirely by private donations, the Presidential Scholarship is a renewable, four-year award.
Amidst a global pandemic that has adversely affected students’ lives in significant ways, the following are among those generous corporate partners and individuals in the community who are actively making a difference in WCU students’ lives by way of the Student Emergency Aid Fund and/or Presidential Scholarships:
GALA SPONSORS: Aramark; Arthur Hall Insurance; Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP; BB&T (Now Trust); CALECO Laundry; Citadel; Dilworth Paxson, LLP; First Bank; H.B. Frazer Company; Hobbs and Company, Inc.; Jobsite Products, Inc.; Krapf Bus Companies; Lamb McErlane PC; Lobar, Inc.; MacElree Harvey; Meridian Bank; Monarch Staffing; NJM Insurance Group; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; Philadelphia Phillies; Radius Systems, LLC; SEI Investments Company; Sodexo; Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP; TD Bank; The Party Center; University Student Housing, LLC; Visual Sound; Warren Financial; Wilmington Trust; WCU Alumni Association; and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.
EVENT SPONSORS: Citadel; M&T Charitable Foundation; Meridian Bank; PSECU; TD Bank; and Univest.