April 7, 2022

39th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala Raises $150,000+ for West Chester University Students During Historic Times

WCU Opera Theatre students perform selections from their production of Die Fledermaus at the 39th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala.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.”

 (L to R) John Baker, professor emeritus of art and ceramics; Greg Weisenstein, former president of West Chester University; Christopher Fiorentino, current president of West Chester University; Linda Lamwers, former acting president of West Chester University.

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.

West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino and Susan Fiorentino shared co-hosting roles with Gala Co-chairs Patricia and James P. Shinehouse ‘80. Pictured (L to R) Susan Fiorentino, Christopher Fiorentino, James Shinehouse ’80, Patricia Shinehouse

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.




Back to top of page.