Individual donors and partner organizations are propelling WCU students to greater success. Discover the latest happenings from across our Foundation’s initiatives.


Truist Foundation to Support WCU Promise Program with $100,000 Grant

July 16, 2024
Truist Foundation has generously awarded a three-year $100,000 grant to West Chester University Foundation to support the WCU Promise Program.
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“The Truist Foundation Pathways Program” will specifically support the success of the University’s housing insecure and independent students to increase graduation rates and build career pathways to economic mobility.

WCU has been providing services to students on campus who are determined housing insecure since 2014 through the Promise Program. The Promise Program serves unaccompanied homeless and foster youth by offering access to year-round housing on campus, food and supplies from the University’s Resource Pantry, priority employment opportunities, access to scholarship funds, and monthly programming that provides mentorship and opportunities to engage with peers and guest speakers.

During the 2023-24 academic year, the Promise Program supported 53 students and is expected to support even more in the following years. In addition, almost 35% of WCU students received federal Pell grants; these students benefit from the same resources that Promise Program students do. The University will utilize “The Truist Foundation Pathways Program” grant to revise and expand its program offerings to address the challenges Promise Program, and the larger WCU student population, face. Among the services WCU will offer are life skills training such as financial literacy, accessing healthcare, and cooking and emergency funds to mitigate students’ unexpected financial crises such as car repair or housing needs.

“We are proud to partner with West Chester University Foundation,” said Chad Leyden, Truist market president for suburban Philadelphia. “Our purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities and we live out this purpose by supporting opportunities such as the Promise Program.”

About Truist Foundation
Truist Foundation is committed to Truist’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. The Foundation, an endowed private foundation established in 2020 whose operating budget is independent of Truist Financial Corporation, makes strategic investments in a wide variety of nonprofit organizations centered around two focus areas: building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses to ensure all people and communities have an equal opportunity to thrive.

150Forward Comprehensive Campaign Raises Historic $70.5 Million for WCU Students

June 24, 2024
West Chester University's passionate supporters have brought this campaign to the finish line and the future is indeed very bright.
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150Forward: The Campaign for West Chester University has raised more than $70.5 million, exceeding the campaign’s overall goal by more than $5.5 million and reaching its highpoint three months prior to the June 30, 2024 deadline.

Launched in 2017, the largest comprehensive campaign in the University’s history was designed to help an even greater number of WCU students secure specific needs: more scholarships; increased academic, civic and professional opportunities; and ready access to technological advancements.

“This campaign has been about breaking down barriers, fostering accessibility, and creating opportunities for lifelong success. Your contributions have laid the foundation for academic achievement, technological advancement, and experiential learning that reaches far beyond the classroom,” President Chris Fiorentino shared with guests at the 41st Annual Presidential Gala in March, when the public announcement was made.

“Your passion and your philanthropy have been instrumental in this journey, especially during the onset of the pandemic,” he also said to those who had gathered. “This support has been a testament to your commitment to our students’ success. As this University’s president, it has been a profound journey.”

Among the campaign’s achievements are the following three largest gifts:

A $3.5 million gift in 2022 from Student Services, Incorporated (SSI), the largest cash donation ever made to the University. SSI is a not-for-profit organization designed to serve WCU students.

A $3 million gift in 2018 from WCU brothers Dr. James R. Wells ’54 and Mr. Richard G. Wells ’58 in 2018, for whom the Wells School of Music is named, and the largest cash gift in WCU’s history at the time.

A $1 million gift in 2020 from 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, and the Duey family, to support the construction of The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons (SECC).

“To see the impact that these dollars will have on generations of students is truly humbling,” said Deb Cornelius ’91, Executive Director of the WCU Foundation at the Gala. “President Fiorentino’s leadership has been critical to the Foundation’s work in helping to move the University forward.”

By the Numbers:

  • More than 19,000 donors
  • $27,477,726 in scholarships
  • 187 new scholarships created
  • 96 endowments established
  • 3,136 scholarships awarded to students
  • More than 1,000 scholarships awarded to first generation students
  • Building of the 175,000-square-foot SECC with hands-on learning labs including the Duey Centers for Science, Environmental Health Lab, and Nutrition and Food Sensory Lab; 13 faculty research labs; and an 815-seat dining hall
  • 292 student organizations benefited
  • 24 NCAA Division II athletic programs supported

The 150Forward Campaign was co-chaired by Eric Bossard ’85, Marc Duey, and Jacqui North ’81, leaders in the fields of technology, philanthropy, and educational advancement.

WCU’S 41st Annual Presidential Gala Helps Fund the "Last Dollars" Students May Need to Graduate

March 26, 2024
150Forward Comprehensive Campaign Raises Historic $69 Million for WCU Students
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Each year, West Chester University’s Annual Presidential Gala attracts numerous friends from throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support an annual benefit that works to provide financial assistance to West Chester University students in good academic standing. In honor of President Christopher Fiorentino’s 41 years of extraordinary service and prior to his retirement in June, the Gala returned home to West Chester University on Friday, March 15, as the Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons was transformed into a “Starry Night Soirée.” The newest building on campus featured a breathtaking 8k video wall presentation by Professor of Astronomy Marc Gagné and The Sandra F. Pritchard Mather Planetarium. NASA images, footage from the Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes, the Mars rovers, and planet flyby missions were among the spectacular images shown.

The special venue was fitting for a special request. President Fiorentino asked that all funds raised at the 41st Annual Presidential Gala be specifically directed to the University’s “Fund to Finish” — a fund that provides flexible, emergency funding to students when they have exhausted all other avenues of support to complete their degree at West Chester University.

Nearly 300 friends were anxious to shoot for the stars and answer the beloved president’s call to fund the “last dollars” students may need to graduate. The total amount raised at the Gala is currently in the process of being calculated. In existence for the past few years, the Fund to Finish has supported 170 West Chester University students.

“The Fund to Finish represents our shared mission as a community of educators to ensure every student has the resources needed to complete their education and cross the finish line to secure their hard-earned degrees,” said President Fiorentino to the guests in attendance. “Your generosity directly impacts lives, offering hope and opportunity to students like Erica, who had exhausted her loan eligibility even though she had nearly completed her nursing degree; Chayla, who worked full-time while carrying a full course load to stay afloat; and Kenisha, a single-mother who diligently worked to improve her family’s future. Thanks to your support, all three have triumphed over their obstacles to become proud Golden Ram alumni.

The Fund to Finish represented just one step in the larger journey to complete the 150Forward campaign, which is the largest comprehensive campaign that the University has launched in its history to support students. While a capital campaign supports bricks and mortar, the 150Forward campaign was specifically designed to help an even greater number of WCU students secure more scholarships; have increased opportunities for academic, civic and professional experiences; and obtain ready access to technological advancements.

At 9 p.m., a surprise, significant milestone was announced by Executive Director of the West Chester University Foundation Debra Cornelius; the 150Forward Campaign raised $69,512,930.82. The total exceeded the campaign’s overall goal by $4million and reached its highpoint three months prior to the June 30, 2024 deadline.

“We are genuinely excited to share this historic milestone with you,” said Ms. Cornelius. “To see the impact that these dollars will have on generations of students is truly humbling.”

Jasmine Seals, a graduate of Bucks County Community College and now a 25-year-old West Chester University student in her senior year, personified the impact of the campaign. She told the audience: “My parents raised my brother and me on the idea that they knew we could do better and be better than the situation they were in, [which was] living paycheck to paycheck, getting laid off, and having to work more than the average person might….

“When transferring into WCU, I worked two jobs…In the fall of 2023, I was stressed, worried, and scared about paying for tuition to get me through my senior year….In order to student teach, I would have to reduce my work hours and step away from working….What about my bills? My loan payments? My car or gas? Then, I got an email saying I had received a very generous scholarship that would allow me to finish my final semester. Like butter on fresh hot pancakes, my worries melted away…This scholarship changed my life and made things a whole lot easier for me to reach my dreams of being an educator.”

Since its inception in 1983, the Presidential Gala has raised more than $2 million dollars for West Chester University students. Gala Committee Co-Chairs for West Chester University’s 2024 Starry Night Soirée were Elizabeth Leonard and Stephen R. Leonard ’72, M’80.

For 2024, the following sponsored the 41st Annual Presidential Gala — Presenting Sponsor: Aramark. Diamond Sponsors: Jobsite Products, Inc. and MacElree Harvey. Titanium Sponsors: Radius Systems and Sodexo. Gold Sponsors: Arthur Hall Insurance; Bancroft Construction Company; First Bank; Hobbs & Company, Inc.; Meridian Bank; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. Silver Sponsors: Citadel Credit Union, NJM Insurance Group, Patricia & James P. Shinehouse ’80, and West Chester University Alumni Association. Bronze Sponsors: CALECO Laundry, The Elite Group, Fox Rothschild LLP, The Kienle Family, Martin’s Financial Consulting Group – Ameriprise, Philadelphia Phillies, S&T Bank, West Chester University Athletics, and Wistar Motors.

WCU INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band Achieves Longtime Goal of Marching in Rose Parade with Help from $1 Million Dollar Fundraiser

February 14, 2024
On New Year’s day 2024, WCU’s very own RamBand made history by becoming the first marching band within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to participate in the iconic Rose Parade.
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West Chester University’s “RamBand Road to the Roses ’24” initiative has raised more than $1million to fund travel expenses for the INCOMPARABLE Golden Rams Marching Band to make the 2,675-mile journey to the Golden State. On New Year’s day 2024, WCU’s very own RamBand made history by becoming the first marching band within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to participate in the iconic Rose Parade.

Transporting the 336-member band, their instruments, and more than 30 University faculty and staff members to Pasadena for this once-in-a-lifetime experience was no small feat and required a true community effort. Launched in November 2022, the fundraising initiative was anchored by a $100,000 matching gift challenge from Dr. James Wells ’54 and Richard G. Wells ’58, namesakes for West Chester’s School of Music.

“The band’s students, who represent more than 60 majors, are a constant source of WCU pride,” said West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino, “as they simultaneously juggle their courseloads with a demanding practice schedule. We are thrilled that they earned this coveted opportunity that brings worldwide recognition to West Chester University, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

An annual tradition for more than 130 years, the Rose Parade has a television viewership of more than 25 million people and a live attendance of about 700,000. The momentous occasion was captured by Good Morning America (West Coast)6abc Action News, and CBS3 Philadelphia, in addition to full parade coverage by KTLA5.

“We are expected to push ourselves and each other so that each person who sees us perform gets a worthy show,” said Devon Palmeter, a Class of 2023 chemistry major with minors in dance and Spanish, and a member of the Color Guard. “Not only did the field show and various parades need to be near perfect here on the East Coast, they needed to be just as good, if not better, on the West Coast. Everything that we had been working endlessly towards all season, and everything that those before us had accomplished, was put on display in Pasadena.”

Spectators in the stands and those watching at home saw the band’s new uniforms that feature a purple and gold rose design. The “new look” was made possible in part by a six-figure donation from Student Services, Incorporated, the nonprofit organization designed to serve the students of West Chester University.

This year’s parade theme was “Celebrating a World of Music”, and the band played the “Theme for Rocky,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” and the “Liberty Bell March.” As part of the festivities, the band was invited to perform a field show at the Tournament of Rose’s 43rd Annual BandFest at Pasadena City College, and marched down Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park in a smaller celebratory parade.

Anna Gutzler, a junior studying music education at West Chester University and drum major in the band, said, “What made this experience especially rewarding was the fact that my parents, grandparents, and sister were able to watch the parade in person. Although the viewers only see the final product, the band members and staff know the countless hours of hard work and preparation it took for us to get to that moment. Throughout the entire trip, I was beaming with pride and gratitude.”

Peak Group Travel, a student travel company owned and operated by Bruce Rickert ’86, facilitated a trip for more than 300 friends, family members, and Ram Fans who enthusiastically cheered during the march down Colorado Boulevard. These fans included members of the Bands Alumni Chapter of the WCU Alumni Association. Founded in 2012, the chapter has more than 700 members, performs at football games during Homecoming Weekend, and supports the “Sixth Man” Basketball Band at home games. This past December, the Peak Group Travel donated the remaining $16,000 to reach the one-million-dollar goal.

More than 1,400 donors, including alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and family contributed to the effort, including students, who rallied the support of friends and family through crowdfunding to “fund a mile” of their trip.

Dean of West Chester University’s Wells School of Music Christopher Hanning said, “Throughout the trip, our engagement with our alumni and band parents let us know how committed they are to our success, and to the University. From all of us in the Wells School of Music, a huge thanks to our donors, our administration, and the WCU Foundation for their INCOMPARABLE support!”

Director of Athletic Bands and WCU Adam Gumble ’05 added, “Thank you for believing in our program and understanding the value that this sort of experience has for Golden Rams past, present, and future. Most of all, we are thankful for your support of this opportunity that allowed West Chester University to shine brightly on the international stage!”

An insider’s look into the history of the band and their yearlong preparations can be found in the January issue of Main Line Today magazine.

President’s Circle Honorees Inspire Others Through Their Philanthropy and Volunteerism

November 28, 2023
West Chester University recently recognized members of the President’s Circle, which is comprised of those who are committed to advancing student success at WCU through their philanthropy and volunteerism.
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West Chester University recently recognized members of the President’s Circle, which is comprised of those who are committed to advancing student success at WCU through their philanthropy and volunteerism.

President’s Circle members include dedicated alumni, parents and family members, friends, faculty, staff, and community partners who are bound by their commitment to West Chester University, driving student success now and providing a strong foundation for the University’s future. President’s Circle members belong to three unique philanthropic societies: the Carillon Society, the Heritage Society, and Community Partners.

“Our focus is always on our students and how we can best help them reach their goals – and it’s the people in this room whose generosity makes a direct and significant difference in their lives,” said WCU President Christopher Fiorentino. “Those who donate annually as members of our Carillon Society, have achieved lifetime giving milestones as members of our Heritage Society, or are recognized as President’s Award Honorees.”

Recipients of the 2023 President’s Award are Kathleen Hassinger ’80, M’86 and Edward J. Boyer ’78 (1956-2020); Anita Foeman, PhD; Dianne and Michael Peich; and GFWC The New Century Club of West Chester.

Executive Director of the WCU Foundation Deb Cornelius ’91 added, “It’s important that we gather to recognize and celebrate their contributions. They are champions of West Chester and are truly invested in the success of our Golden Rams.”

Senior Claire Zito, who transferred to West Chester as a second-year student and received scholarship assistance to study abroad in Singapore last summer, shared insight into the student experience these donors help make possible. “The people and programs here at West Chester were the catalyst to shaping who I am,” shared Zito. “After my first few classes, I gained a genuine love for academics that I hadn’t felt before. My West Chester story is custom-made to me as it is for each student to study here, because our faculty and staff are personally invested in our success.”

Zito will graduate in the spring with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and minors in international business, sustainability and resilience, digital marketing, and Japanese language.

About the 2023 President’s Award Honorees

Kathleen Hassinger Boyer graduated from WCU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in music education and in 1986 with her master’s degree in instrumental performance. She has a dedicated and successful career in music education through her day-to-day work at E.T. Richardson Middle School and as music curriculum coordinator for Springfield School District and through her many volunteer organizations in the community. Kathleen and her late husband, Ed, met at West Chester. Ed was a fellow music alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from WCU in 1978.

Dr. Anita Foeman, professor emerita in the Department of Communication and Media at West Chester University, is a scholar of intercultural and organizational communication and served the University in teaching and research for four decades (1982 – 2022). Dr. Foeman is the founder and primary investigator of the DNA Discussion Project at WCU, which encourages the WCU community to talk about diversity in a positive and engaging way.

Michael Peich, emeritus professor of English at WCU, retired in 2010 after 42 years of service. He cofounded the WCU Poetry Conference, created the WCU Poetry Center, and founded Aralia Press. A former trustee of the WCU Foundation trustee, he serves as a mentor for the men’s basketball team. Dianne Peich is emeritus professor of English at Delaware Community College, where she taught for 31 years; she is currently a critter-maker extraordinaire at the Brandywine River Museum. Michael and Dianne recently established the Michael and Dianne Peich Men’s Basketball Endowment.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Pennsylvania is part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), which is one of the world’s largest and oldest women’s volunteer service organizations. GFWC The New Century Club of West Chester has supported WCU for the last 12 years through their scholarship that supports five non-traditional female students, one from each College.

Pictured with President Chris Fiorentino (center left) and Sue Fiorentino (center right) are those who were honored with this year’s President’s Award (L-R): Kathleen Hassinger Boyer ’80, M’86; Dianne and Michael Peich; Anita Foeman, PhD; Kathleen Lackey-Painter, president, GFWC The New Century Club of West Chester; and Marilyn Light, board member and chair of the Education Committee, GFWC The New Century Club of West Chester.

WCU Foundation Closes Fiscal Year with $10.7 Million in Gifts & Future Commitments

July 1, 2023
In the quest to pursue an education (and their dreams), our students show the world what it means to be a Ram for Life.
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We are proud to share that we exceeded our goal for the 2022-2023 fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), raising $10,710,887 in gifts and future commitments! Whether you are alumni, faculty or staff, a friend, or a community partner, know that you are integral to the mission of West Chester University—thank you for your generosity.

In 40 Years of Fundraising, WCU's Presidential Scholarship Community Gala Raises More Than $2.6 Million for Students

April 27, 2023
This year’s benefit celebrated a triple Ruby Anniversary.
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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.”

Gala Sponsors

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.

Diversity Walk to be Dedicated to Former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman on April 22

April 7, 2023
Intentional Citizen Discussions to Follow about Diversity, Inclusion & Equity
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West Chester University (WCU) will pay tribute to the impactful community work and inclusive teaching of former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman by dedicating a popular campus corridor in his honor — Diversity Walk. A focal point for WCU students as they travel to classes on foot, Diversity Walk will be formally dedicated to the well-known Chester County leader on Saturday, April 22, at 9 a.m. by WCU President Chris Fiorentino and members of the University community. Among the many in attendance for the special honor will be former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman and numerous citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The outdoor Diversity Walk Dedication ceremony will take place on the plaza located between the east entrance of The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons (SECC) and the side entrance of Lawrence Hall. Parking will be available at the Student Recreation Center Parking Garage, 275 North Campus Drive in West Chester.

At a time when race and ethnic relations are being tested across the globe, the First Annual Community Gathering for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity will immediately follow the dedication from 9:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. in the SECC, located on campus at 155 University Avenue. The First Annual Community Gathering will draw citizens from throughout the region to engage in meaningful conversations about race and ethnic relations today; the need for healing, restoration and respect; ways to defy hatred and respond to negative social media; and other critical topics. Based on geographical areas of Chester County, intentional citizen discussion groups will explore new approaches to develop increased respect and understanding for all in our greater community. The groups will report-out on actionable outcomes following their conversations.

“Former Senator Dinniman’s relentless work to unite all people in our community is to be applauded,” said West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino. “By establishing an ongoing forum to discuss new approaches to societal challenges, he has opened another door to engage our region in a series of dialogues designed to generate respect, increased understanding and a much-needed resolution.”

A highlight of the day will be a dynamic discussion led by a team that is on a mission to show that we are all part of one humanity. Professor Emerita Anita Foeman and Professor Bessie Lawton, both from WCU’s Department of Communication Studies, are transforming communities by uniting people through what may be best described as genetic epiphanies. As the lead researcher of the DNA Discussion Project, Dr. Foeman and Dr. Lawton, as co-investigator of the DNA Discussion Project, have encouraged thousands of people to engage in genetic testing followed by reveal-results and post-dialogues that challenge deeply entrenched stereotypes. The DNA Discussion Project is prompting very honest conversations about race and building connections among people who never thought that they were “different.”

Also conveying the importance about shared commonalities will be an acclaimed member of the University’s Department of History, Professor Emeritus Charles Hardy, III. In his presentation, Dr. Hardy, an expert in digital storytelling, will detail how historical research can help make sense of one another’s life experiences. By drawing on examples from the Great Migration to Philadelphia and others, participants will be shown the lessons that can be learned from our grandparents.

Dr. Clifford DeBaptiste is the honorary chair of the First Annual Community Gathering for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. Dr. DeBaptiste, who provided an endowment to focus on the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass through the Frederick Douglass Institute at WCU, inspired former Senator Dinniman to launch the gathering and its supporting endowment.

“As we approach the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, it is time to assess and discuss where we are as a society,” said former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman.  “The dynamics of intercultural communication lead us to a full appreciation of our common humanity. The purpose of this Gathering can be best summed by the words spoken by the chief historian of the Museum of the American Revolution, Philip Mead, who said, ‘Each generation must look at itself and ask are we making progress? The question is what can we do differently this time?’”

More About The Together Fund

The First Annual Community Gathering is brought to Chester County by the Dinniman Together Fund: Diversity Inclusion & Equity Endowment at West Chester University (WCU). The focus of the fund is to promote diversity and equity through a renewed emphasis on our common humanity. More than a century following the final public speech of Frederick Douglass on the campus of West Chester State Normal School on February 1, 1895, the Dinniman Together Fund continues the conversation by providing resources to support an annual gathering where the research and teaching knowledge of WCU faculty (past and present) may be shared with the greater Chester County community.

The Together Fund is, in part, designed to build on Dr. DeBaptiste’s generosity by taking the legacy of Douglass from the campus into the greater community. Former State Senator Andrew E. Dinniman raised more than $100,000 to create the Dinniman Together Fund: Diversity Inclusion & Equity Endowment at West Chester University (WCU.

Additional information about the First Annual Community Gathering for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity as well as The Together Fund established by Senator Dinniman and his friends can be found here.

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