A crowd of 250 alumni, friends and volunteers enjoyed a festive atmosphere in the Student Community Center on Saturday, October 15, 2005, for the Penn State McKeesport Advisory Board?s second annual All That?s Jazz scholarship fundraiser. Guests came from as far away as Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, and Florida to be part of the event.
At the close of the evening, participants and sponsors pledged $36,880 for scholarships. In the days following the fund total rose to more than $38,000 and the figure continues to rise.
?Everyone who worked on this event should be extremely proud,? said Chancellor Curtiss E. Porter. ?We did what we said we would do. We are going to help many students at a time when help is even more necessary and appreciated. Every dollar earned will translate directly into student scholarship support.?
Event Chairs Nancy Seifert and Nancy Traina and the All That?s Jazz Committee transformed the Student Community Center into a festival-like atmosphere. Over-sized sunflowers, tropical backdrops, South American travel posters, and Latin American fabrics adorned the building. Posters featuring students who received scholarships as a result of last year?s event allowed guests to see how their gifts are helping support a diverse group of students.
The Carnegie Mellon University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of David Pellow, performed Latin Jazz favorites on the William A. Seifert, Jr. stage. Lily Abreu, a native of Brazil>, was the featured vocalist. The Arbor Tribe performed in the Robert and Elizabeth Ostermayer Room.
Advisory Board President Ralph Papa led the sponsorship committee, which was responsible for securing underwriting. He was assisted by Joseph Hohman, immediate past president of the Advisory Board. Advisory Board Members Dave Pasternak and Jerry Martz and the Auction Committee organized three different auctions: a Silent Auction, a Blue and White Auction where guests could purchase mystery boxes for $25 or $50, and a Live Auction. Martz, s WTAE-TV meteorologist, served as auctioneer.
Guests raved about the delicious Latin American menu served by Penn State McKeesport?s Housing and Food Service staff under the direction of Heidi Leiden.
?The event was successful in raising awareness of the importance of providing more scholarship assistance to our students,? said Pat Quinn Winter, director of Institutional Advancement.
?Scholarship funds have become increasingly important to our students and their families. These funds can make the difference between students staying in college or having to make some hard decisions about their futures,? said Penn State McKeesport Chancellor Curtiss E. Porter, Ph.D.
Approximately three-quarters of Penn State students receive some sort of financial aid (including loans)-- up from 66% in 1995. About one-half of the students enrolled at the campus represent the first generation in their family to attend college and many depend on grants, loans, and scholarships to pay for their education.
Honorary Committee Members included: Arthur L. Baldwin, Suzy and Jim Broadhurst, Esther Bush, Franco Harris, Thomas Hollander, George L. Miles, Jr., Tony Mowad, The Honorable Daniel Onorato, Sylvester Pace, William E. Strickland, Jr. and Doris Carson Williams. Underwriters of All That?s Jazz include Hosts: Citizens Bank, Nancy Seifert, and Nancy and John Traina; Benefactors: Elizabeth Carbide Die Co., Inc., General Trade Corporation, Mark R. Gruskin, John and Jean Neel, Resource Development Management, Inc., H.B. South Printers, and UPMC McKeesport. Sponsors also include Event Patrons: Alpern Rosenthal, Mrs. Nadine Bognar, Judy and Tom Bruney, Directed Electronics, Eat ?n Park Hospitality Group, Edward and Dorothy Datemasch, Jendoco Construction Company, George and Ann Kemp, John Keyes of Tube City-IMS, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Kutsenkow, Chris and Carolyn Maricondi, Mon Yough Chamber of Commerce, Vic and Patty Orler, Larry Ostermayer, Ralph J. and Ruth Anne Papa, Bill and Lydi Poller, Dr. Curtiss E. Porter, Riverside Care Center, Dr. Margaret Signorella, Gary L. and Sharen A. Thomas, and Pat and Jay Winter.
Anyone interested in donating to the Penn State McKeesport Scholarship Fund can learn more by calling the Office of Institutional Advancement at 412-675-9048.