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Blues and White Gala raises nearly $26,000 for student scholarships

5/27/2010 —
The second annual Blues and White Gala scholarship fundraising event hosted by Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus April 17 raised nearly $26,000 for student scholarships. Lori Omatick, director of development for the campus and the gala event chairman, says, “Members of the local community have, for the second year in a row, demonstrated their generosity. Scholarship funds raised at the inaugural event were distributed to help 28 Penn State Fayette students this academic year. Monies raised this year will help dozens of students for the 2010-2011 academic year. As scholarship recipient Kiley Detar said at the gala, the Blues and White scholarships really help our students achieve their dreams.”
Nearly 125 people attended the black-tie event held at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Local WTAE-TV anchor Michelle Wright was the gala’s mistress of ceremonies, and popular entertainers No Bad JuJu provided the music that had people dancing for hours. Both silent and live auctions were successful and gala attendees went home with some noteworthy items, including sports memorabilia, travel, shopping and dining packages, and much more.

Brian Fernandes, director of Student and Enrollment Services, reports, “Some 1,100 students attend Penn State Fayette, which is Fayette County’s only four-year institution of higher learning. Our campus has a unique role in the region and students understand the benefit of earning a Penn State degree—they know the world-wide reputation of the University can give them a leg-up as they pursue careers. The Blues and White Gala helps close the financial gap for a number of our students, both new enrollments who will begin classes in the fall as well as returning students.”

The gala also provided the Fayette campus an opportunity to recognize two “Friends of Penn State Fayette”: Pennsylvania Sen. Richard A. Kasunic and Centra Bank, represented by Centra founder and CEO Douglas J. Leech Jr. The special honors were created to recognize an individual or organization in the private sector and another in the public sector who have been very supportive of Penn State Fayette.

Penn State Fayette Interim Chancellor Francis K. Achampong recognized the significance of the gala in saying, “We do know that higher education has tremendous value both to those who have the opportunity to attend a post-secondary institution and to society as a whole. Having generous people and organizations commit time and resources to raise scholarship funds that make a high-quality Penn State education accessible to students who would otherwise not be able to afford it is truly to be commended.”

Penn State Fayette students and the Nittany Lion were on hand at the gala to assist attendees with registration and the auctions. The gala’s planning committee was comprised of campus and community leaders, including honorary chairman Dr. Philip Savini, superintendent of the Brownsville Area School District.

Some of the gala’s key sponsors included 84 Lumber Company, Nemacolin Woodlands resort, Centra Bank, Elouise R. Eberly, Ford Business Machines, Joshua and Maria Swimmer, BAE Systems, Mr. and Mrs. W. Gerald Blaney, Ida M. Procyk, University Commons Student Housing, Williams, Advanced Acoustic Concepts, CRH Catering, Pennsylvania Services Corporation—An Affiliate of Alpha Natural Resources, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne H. Port, and Uniontown Mall.

The Blues and White Gala was conceived by the late Chancellor Dr. Emmanuel I. Osagie. In its two year history, the gala has raised nearly $60,000 for student scholarships.

Senator Kasunic

Penn State Fayette Interim Chancellor Francis K. Achampong (left) presents a “Friend of Penn State Fayette” Nittany Lion to Pennsylvania State Sen. Richard A. Kasunic at the April 17 Penn State Fayette Blues and White Gala. (photo credit: Furnace Hill Photography)

Douglas J. Leech Jr.

Douglas J. Leech Jr., founder and CEO of Centra Bank, receives a “Friend of Penn State Fayette” Nittany Lion on behalf of Centra Bank at the April 17 Penn State Fayette Blues and White Gala, as Penn State Fayette Interim Chancellor Francis K. Achampong looks on. (photo credit: Furnace Hill Photography)

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