Individual donors and partner organizations are propelling WCU students to greater success. Discover the latest happenings from across our Foundation’s initiatives.
Ribbons, Ribbons, and Celebration
Our donors are the driving force behind these hallways and classrooms. Gifts to this building fueled 150Forward: The Campaign for WCU – they made the SECC and The Commons a reality for West Chester University.
On Thursday, September 15th, alumni donors and friends who have named spaces in the building gathered to experience firsthand the new technology, distinctive features, and academic enhancements now available to our students through student and faculty demonstrations in the Nutrition & Sensory Evaluation Lab, the Environmental Health Lab, and the Duey Centers for Science.
This is the heart of our campus now, a place where our students can access and harness the latest technology to drive their educational achievements; where they can come to enjoy a meal, collaborate with their peers, or find a quiet space to study; and where our alumni can gather to reminisce – and make new memories.
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Held for the Largest Project & Most Complex Building in West Chester University's History
On Thursday, September 15, amid lots of purple & gold fanfare, the ribbon was officially cut to West Chester University’s 175,000-square-foot Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons (SECC), the largest project and most complex building in the University’s history. Among those doing the official ribbon-cutting honors outside of the SECC’s main lobby doors were West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino; Executive Vice President & Provost Laurie Bernotsky; Managing Partner of Duce Management and Former Founder, President, and CEO of ProMetrics Marc Duey; and WCU Alumni Association President Matthew Holliday ’09.
The SECC is a game-changer for West Chester University, which is the largest university within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, as it provides a living-learning environment for the next generation of scientists, physicists, engineers, nurses, nutritionists, and other critical-demand positions. In fact, the SECC has changed the entire learning landscape at WCU. Instead of asking how students can become ready for West Chester University, the University is asking how it can become ready for students; the SECC is the University’s response.
More About the SECC
The new three-story facility is home to the University’s rapidly growing health science curricula, physics, new biomedical engineering program, as well as expansive academic and support spaces. The state-of-the-art facility boasts:
- the Duey Immersive Learning Center, where high-tech mannequins mimic patients in a simulated hospital setting;
- an advanced Food Sensory Lab, where students are taught how the taste, smell and flavor of food/drink affect people’s food choices;
- roof-top garden beds, where Nutrition Department students grow vegetables that will be taken to the WCU Resource Pantry and other places within the community; and
- a Physics Forum on the third floor, where “Physics Teas” draw physics students and faculty to talk about classes, graduate school, and other topics.
There are also numerous collaborative spaces and alcoves peppered all over the facility. Active learning is encouraged through whiteboards that enable students to brainstorm and share concepts on the spot. Classrooms include flat-screen TV monitors and large-area writable wall surfaces to foster student-work groups; 16 of the classrooms feature video-web conferencing. In addition, dramatic “learning stairs” provide a stimulating hang-out space for students and a captivating floor-to-ceiling video wall highlights the University’s vibrant campus.
“Above all else, this building centers on what students need to learn to be hands-on and successful in critical-demand fields,” said West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino.
Executive Vice President and Provost Laurie Bernotsky concurred. “In every meeting that the University had with architects, we stressed that we had enough buildings with podiums, desks and chairs,” she said. “We needed more collaborative spaces where the singular focus would be on engaging students actively in all aspects of learning throughout the facility.”
Recognizing that meaningful connections happen in a variety of settings, the facility also features The Commons — a welcoming and stimulating environment for students to gather, eat and work. The 800-seat residential dining facility encompasses more than 16,000 square feet of the building’s entire second floor. An intentional and progressive design encourages students to use the facility as a third space and an exciting location to meet, get a healthy meal between classes, and engage in other formative, non-academic activities.
In addition to serving students’ academic and co-curricular needs, the building also includes an adjacent 162,000-square-foot parking garage, which includes 462 parking spaces. While total costs for the SECC have not been finalized, it is estimated that the project will total more than $130 million. The SECC is the largest building construction project ever undertaken within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
SECC Project Benefactors
The three-story facility has been built with the support of two critical leadership gifts. Managing Partner of Duce Management and Former Founder, President, and CEO of ProMetrics Marc Duey, also an adjunct professor at the University teaching in the Marketing Department and the Pharmaceutical Product Development Program, in association with the Duey family, made a generous gift of $1 million toward the important project.
Student Services, Incorporated (SSI), also made a generous gift of $1 million to the project, thanks to Student Services, Incorporated Chair of the Board of Directors Bernie Carrozza ‘66. Student Services, Incorporated is a not-for-profit organization designed to serve the students of West Chester University. SSI is committed to WCU students and stands ready to ensure that they have whatever they need to meet their academic goals. The objective of the corporation is to initiate, regulate, and operate the financial matters of the University’s co-curricular student activities.
The West Chester University Alumni Association also contributed significantly to the building project with a generous donation of $150,000.
“At a time when West Chester University enrolls numerous STEM majors, Marc and Maureen Duey; Student Services, Incorporated; and the West Chester University Alumni Association have invested in the next generation of WCU graduates who will enhance our region and our world as innovative engineers, nurses, nutritionists, physicists, public health professionals, and scientists,” said West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino. “All of us are grateful to these generous benefactors who have created new possibilities and great opportunities for an increasing number of WCU students who are dedicated to preparing themselves for high-performance careers that will make a considerable difference to many.”
WCU Foundation Wins 2022 Circle of Excellence Award from CASE
We are honored to announce that West Chester University/Foundation is the recipient of a 2022 CASE Circle of Excellence Bronze Award in Special Events | Online Fundraisers for our 2021: G.A.L.A. (Give. Advance. Lead. Achieve.). CASE received more than 4,500 entries from 636 institutions in nearly 30 countries. Recipients showcase how advancement empowers teaching and learning, ignites institutional progress, and helps communities thrive.
“Our CASE Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate the creative, resourceful, and innovative ways advancement professionals around the globe champion their institutions’ success,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. “Advancement has never been more important to support and strengthen education. These 2022 Circle of Excellence recipients—from institutions and teams of all sizes and shapes, from regions across the world—showcase how advancement empowers teaching and learning, ignites institutional progress, and helps communities thrive. I hope you take the opportunity to explore these award winners and become inspired.”
CASE’s Circle of Excellence Awards are the premier recognition program for educational advancement. These peer-selected and adjudicated awards honor colleges, universities, and schools worldwide whose talented staff have advanced their organizations with resourcefulness and ingenuity.
CASE—the Council for Advancement and Support of Education—is a global, not-for-profit membership association with a vision to advance education to transform lives and society.
We are the home for advancement professionals, inspiring, challenging, and equipping them to act effectively and with integrity to champion the success of their institutions. CASE defines the competencies and standards for the profession of advancement, leading, and championing their dissemination and application with more than 97,000 advancement professionals at 3,100 member institutions in 80 countries.
Broad and growing communities of professionals gather under the global CASE umbrella. Currently these include alumni relations, development services, communications, fundraising, government relations, and marketing. These professionals are at all stages of their career and may be working in universities, schools, colleges, cultural institutions, or other not-for-profits. CASE uses the intellectual capital and professional talents of an army of volunteers to advance its work, and our membership includes many corporate partners in the education sector.
Headquartered in Washington D.C., CASE works across all continents from its regional offices in London, Singapore, and Mexico City to achieve a seamless experience for all our stakeholders, particularly our members, volunteers, and staff.
A Pledge to Pay It Forward
On Saturday, April 23rd, President Fiorentino and Sue Fiorentino hosted over 80 guests — alumni scholars, new scholarship recipients, parents, faculty, and supporters — in recognition of the Swope family’s generosity, and to hear firsthand the great impact the scholarship has had on students during their time at WCU and beyond.
The Swope family and the ever-growing group of Swope Scholars hope to meet annually to reconnect — and to build upon the Swope family’s long legacy of giving back.
Legacy Society Members Explore WCU History
Special Collections Librarian Ron McColl presented the Shakespeare First Folio, which came to the United States in 1895. It was eventually acquired by William Pyle Philips, son of George Morris Philips, the first principal of West Chester Normal School. While a student there, Philips honed his interest in English literature under the inspiring instruction of Dr. Francis Harvey Green, the library’s namesake. His father is remembered as an esteemed educator who demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the success and legacy of WCU.
More than 400 alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and benefactors have expressed their commitment to West Chester University by including the Foundation in their estate plans — their partnership will support future generations of Golden Rams for years to come.
All Presidents' Gala Raises Over $150,000
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. Funded entirely by private donations and since its inception in 1983, the Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala has raised more than $2 million dollars for West Chester University students through a renewable, four-year Presidential Scholarship.
This year’s critical-need benefit did not disappoint. Following an unprecedented two years, the 39th gala made its in-person return on Saturday, April 2, at Longwood Gardens. The All Presidents’ Gala, which was inspired by the University’s sesquicentennial and the tireless work of past presidents to move the University forward, was a resounding success as it raised more than $150,000.
More than 340 guests honored the University’s longstanding legacy of student success and teaching excellence by attending the premier event that was made possible thanks to Presenting Sponsor Aramark and numerous corporate sponsors. West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino and Susan Fiorentino shared co-hosting roles with Gala co-chairs Patricia and James P. Shinehouse. A 1980 alumnus, James P. Shinehouse is a founding partner at Atlantic Financial Advisory Partners, and Patricia Shinehouse worked as a medical editor for a nursing publication company and has been a Stephen Minister.
Among those leaders honored at the Gala were former University president Greg Weisenstein and former acting president Linda Lamwers, who also delivered remarks on behalf of former president Madeleine Wing Adler.
In written remarks, former president Adler stated, “Dr. Fiorentino and these leaders need your support: your volunteering, your advocacy, and, yes, your financial contributions…This is why in December we committed an additional $25,000 to student scholarships in the fund named for my late son, J. Peter Adler. Whether you support students, or faculty and staff development, or unique University programs, it preserves the legacy of this University, the jewel in the crown of public higher education in Pennsylvania. Expect excellence and support excellence.”
Jacquelyn North, a 1981 alumna and co-chair of 150Forward: The Campaign for West Chester University, spoke about the power of student scholarships during a time of need. “To me, scholarships make the impossible possible. To students, a scholarship can determine whether they walk across the stage at graduation or not. In addition to supporting the President’s Scholarship, I am elated to pay it forward through the creation of my own scholarship, the North Family First-Generation College of Business Scholarship.”
“We are all here as leaders whose efforts will broaden access to scholarships, assist WCU with technological innovation and propel tomorrow’s leaders by creating opportunities on campus, in our workforce and in our communities,” said James Shinehouse during his remarks to those in attendance. “Pat and I are happy to announce our newest commitment to equip these leaders with the skills they need to reach their full potential, a $100,000 endowment for international travels/study abroad. These monies will give our students the opportunity to experience the world and bring back to campus a new perspective.”
The evening was all about West Chester University students. Attendees were impressed by the University’s participating ROTC students and Opera Theatre performers as well as members of the Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band, and the Golden Rams Society.
“For 39 years, we have raised more than $2 million for student scholarships,” said President Fiorentino, who remarked that he has been with the University for the same amount of time. “As a University practice, it remains important to intentionally uncover and then remove barriers that impede student success. Scholarship assistance, housing, food, basic goods, and services— our students continue to need support.
We are grateful for your efforts, because they make a significant difference in the lives of well-deserving and academically talented students. We must continue this kind of ambition on their behalf.”
This year’s incoming class of academic scholars includes Noelle Clavner, Jordan Coleman, Enrique Del Leon-Raya, Laina Harding, Kya London, Kayla Ruff, and Katelyn Skarupa.
Gala Sponsors: Presenting Sponsor: Aramark. Diamond Sponsor: Truist. Entertainment Sponsor: Hobbs & Company, Inc. Gold Sponsors: H.B. Frazer Company; Lamb McErlane PC; Meridian Bank; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; S&T Bank; Patricia & James P. Shinehouse ’80; Sodexo; WCU Alumni Association; and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. Silver Sponsors: Citadel; Dilworth Paxson LLP; The Elite Group; First Bank; Jobsite Products, Inc.; NJM Insurance Group; Red River; Sunset Hill Jewelers & Fine Arts; and TD Bank. Bronze Sponsors: Baker Tilly; CALECO Laundry; Fox Rothschild LLP; KCI/MBP Joint Venture; Martin’s Financial Consulting Group – Ameriprise; Philadelphia Phillies; The Protection Bureau; Radius Systems; Rainer & Company; and SEI Investments Company.
Charter Day of Giving Raises $101,678
Thank you for joining in with hundreds of alumni, faculty and staff members, students, families, and friends to show your Ram Pride.
Student Services, Inc. Presents $3.5 Million Gift to WCU
As the largest cash donation ever made to West Chester University, a $3.5 million gift from Student Services, Incorporated (SSI) will be presented during a Gift Agreement Signing and Check Presentation Celebration on Tuesday, March 22, at 3 p.m. in the University’s Philips Autograph Library, 700 South High Street, West Chester. SSI Chair of the Board of Directors Bernie Carrozza and SSI Executive Director Donna Snyder will publicly sign the gift agreement and present the transformational check to West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. The presentation of the historic gift coincides with the University’s 150th anniversary this year; a celebratory toast will follow.
The SSI Board of Directors approved a special resolution to support donating to the largest comprehensive campaign ever launched to fund WCU students’ immediate needs — 150Forward: The Campaign for West Chester University. The gift, which will provide a perpetual source of annual funding through earned interest, will establish the Student Services Incorporated Presidential Endowment. The endowment will enable the University to provide the additional support needed to fuel student-related priorities, student scholarship/financial aid, academic and co-curricular programs, and technology initiatives.
“SSI has a long history of being a passionate supporter of West Chester University students,” says SSI Chair of the Board of Directors Bernie Carrozza. “We are happy to be able to help provide the type of resources and support that will enable bright minds and dreams to flourish. This endowment is quite intentional. It offers the flexibility to seize opportunities or to make strategic investments in initiatives and priorities focused on achieving the University’s mission of student success.”
The historic gift enables the student-focused campaign to move beyond the $50 million mark. Thanks to the unwavering support of donors who welcome the opportunity to help students navigate academic journeys, the campaign has reached 77% of its goal to raise $65 million by June 30, 2024.
“We are overwhelmed with the generosity of this gift,” says West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. “SSI continues to demonstrate to our students that the organization believes in their abilities and continues to welcome making lasting investments in their educational goals. We are grateful to be able to align with a partner who has provided an intentional investment in the future of this University and in generations of students to come. I can think of no better way to honor West Chester University’s 150 Anniversary and to prepare for the next 150 forward.”
About Student Services, Incorporated
Student Services, Incorporated (SSI) is a not-for-profit organization designed to serve the students of West Chester University. The objective of the corporation is to initiate, regulate, and operate the financial matters of the University’s co-curricular student activities.