University, Scholarship Recipients Express Thanks to Donors at Evening of Appreciation
As guests entered the Commons Great Room on the evening of Friday, Nov. 14, they were met with words displayed on a large metal sculpture, reading: Transform, Grateful, Create, Fulfill, Change—sentiments that so aptly described the second annual Evening of Appreciation, an event to thank donors and connect student scholarship recipients with their scholarship donors.
As guests and donors filed in, scholarship recipients formed a welcoming party to meet those who created or contributed to their respective scholarships.
“I know that I wouldn’t be here without some sort of financial aid and scholarship money,” said Katheryn Couture ’18, an anthropology major from central Pennsylvania. “I love it here, and I can’t see myself anywhere else.”
Couture received the Paul J. Zullo scholarship, created by Adeline Fricchione ’53. As a Beaver College student, Fricchione received financial assistance from an unfortunate source: insurance money for her brother, Paul Zullo, who was killed in World War II. She established the scholarship in his honor.
“I think that education is very important, and there are many students who could not afford an education unless they had a grant or scholarship,” said Fricchione.
The night also highlighted Arcadia’s gifted performers. Studio Art Foundations students modeled outfits from the class’s Wearable Art Show, parading through the captivated audience. Knightingales, a recently revived a capella group, performed “Counting Stars” by pop/rock band OneRepublic. Grace Szczepkowski ’15, Lindsay Deal ’17, and Sidney Shaulis ’17 sang The Crystals’ “Da Do Ron Ron” in proper ’60s attire. Aashika Suseendran ’15, who also organizes Knightingales, performed Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” on piano. Suseendran is a recipient of the Ellen Jane Hover ’74 Scholarship, which provides support for piano studies at Arcadia.
“This evening is an expression of Arcadia’s gratitude to our donors and patrons,” said Mark Lapreziosa, vice president for Enrollment Management, who emceed the event so deftly that hosts of the Academy Awards should have taken notes. “We recognize that your friendship and support for the University help us to develop programs, enhance faculty scholarship and teaching, and enable our students to meet college costs.”
The night gave evidence to the lasting impact of Arcadia, with the return of alumni donors and former faculty and staff. One such returning member of the Arcadia community was Norah Shultz, Ph.D., donor and former dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, who attended with her husband, Jeff Shultz, Ed.D., professor of education.
“We’re really committed to Arcadia,” she said. “The University still does amazing things, and we want to support what it does.”
After a warm introduction by philanthropist and community activist Gerri Aaron ’14H, President Nicolette DeVille Christensen thanked donors on behalf of the University, noting that the strong foundation laid by all those who studied at and support Arcadia is what allows the University to offer students its unique academic and international opportunities.
“Arcadia is a distinctive place that opens doors, opens minds, and creates opportunities in so many ways,” she said. “We are a legacy institution with a sense of purpose, a respect for history, and the courage to embrace the future. Arcadia University is … extremely grateful for your support.”
Outside of the Great Room, students in the University’s art and design department showcased their artwork. Scientific illustration, ceramics, graphic design, painting, and metals and jewelry students, among others, presented works they had created for class, while a few students fashioned pottery and painted portraits during the event. Inside, interactive tablets demonstrated more work by Arcadia’s talented artists and designers.
Guests also were treated to a photo montage of the previous academic year and a video, introduced by Board Chair Chris van de Velde, which emphasized the importance of donor support in helping to strengthen Arcadia.
“This was my number one school,” said Allegra Benites ’15, who received a scholarship funded by the Class of 2014’s class gift. “Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to come here.”
Before the doors opened into the Great Room, a separate event on the second floor of the Commons celebrated the success of the Physical Therapy department’s Changing Lives, Teaching Students campaign. More than half a million dollars was raised in 2013 for the Charles Magistro International Pro Bono Experiential Learning Program and the Dan Aaron Stay Fit Programs through the University’s first-ever departmentally focused campaign.
Aaron, who started the Dan Aaron Stay Fit program in honor of her late husband, who had Parkinson’s disease, for years has generously donated to the Physical Therapy department and the University. At the PT event, she announced a $200,000 donation to be used at the discretion of Dean Rebecca Craik, Ph.D.
“As dean of the College of Health Sciences, [Dr. Craik] has really achieved new heights,” said Aaron. “Dr. Craik is unparalleled in her field. Her many awards and honors reflect this…. Her clarity of vision and direction is powerful. This admirable, adorable woman has grit, wit, warmth, charm, steadfast endurance, and confidence.”
Throughout the night, the event never lost sight of why donors support the University—the students. They remain the focus in the eyes of Arcadia supporters, and their appreciation is evident through their accomplishments at Arcadia and internationally.
“I really appreciate everything [the donors] have done and the scholarship they gave me,” said Christina Karnavas ’16, a psychology major who came to the United States for the first time from her home on the Greek island of Samos to study at Arcadia. Karnavas is the recipient of a scholarship founded in 1970 by William S. Cornell, father of Anne Cornell Swalm ’55, in honor of his beloved wife and Anne’s mother, Mable Kuhn Cornell. “This is really helping me stay in college, and it’s helping me pay for half of my tuition, so I’m very grateful.”