More than 500 guests helped Stockton University students at the 36th Annual Stockton University Scholarship Benefit Gala Saturday, April 16, 2016, by raising a net amount of over $250,000 for the Stockton Foundation.
President Harvey Kesselman told donors: “Students are grateful for and continue to need your support. For some, a college education would not be possible without scholarships. This year $110,000 will be awarded from just the endowment, which has been built over the years from Gala proceeds. In fact, more than $500,000 will be awarded from the Foundation to deserving students.”
Gala net proceeds go to the Stockton Benefit Gala Endowed Scholarship Fund, which last year provided over $100,000 in scholarships to more than 70 students.
Since 2007 the Benefit Gala has added more than $3 million to the endowment in support of student scholarships.
The Stockton University Foundation has grown tremendously in the last few years. In 2003, it had less than $3 million in assets and today has reached nearly $30 million.
“We thank our many sponsors and donors who make the Gala a success. Tonight is a celebration of their generosity,” said Philip Ellmore, chief development officer and executive director of the University Foundation. “Many students will succeed at Stockton because of the money given for this event.”
Several scholarship recipients told their stories at the event held at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, NJ.
“I appreciate the financial help since I am getting my Master’s and it is a costly process. The Foundation scholarship helps to relieve the burden and I feel honored to have received it,” said Katelynn Singiser of West Deptford, N.J., who is studying for her graduate degree in Occupational Therapy in the School of Health Sciences. Singiser is president of the Graduate Student Council.
Cherie Sloan, a sophomore Health Science major from Sicklerville, N.J., said receiving a Foundation scholarship “made Stockton a lot more approachable. Without it, I might have gone to a community college first.”
Sloan is also the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Driver’s 2016 HERO of the Year, recognized for her commitment to serving as a designated driver for family and friends.
Rick Dovey, chair of the Stockton Foundation, president of the Atlantic County Utilities Authority and a member of Stockton’s first graduating class, explained the importance of giving: “My education and experience at Stockton had a profound impact in establishing a foundation and path in my career and life. Supporting the university and student scholarships through events like the Gala is a way to give back to the institution that has given me and this region so much.”
Guests circulated and enjoyed live entertainment and special menus in each of four spaces at the historic Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway.
“Stockton is the glue of Atlantic County and I’m so happy to be a part of it becoming the glue of Atlantic City,” said Thomas Sykes of SOSH Architects, a major Gala sponsor.
The university is moving ahead with plans to expand its presence in Atlantic City with a residential and academic campus as part of the AC Gateway project on the site of the former Atlantic City High School. The public-private development by the non-profit Atlantic City Development Corp. (AC Devco) will include a 56,000-square-foot academic building with on-site parking and housing for over 500 students.
Entertainment at the Gala included Carnivale, a 12-piece big band; Bianco Martinis, a jazz quartet that performed with professional dancers; and the Marty Mitchell Trio, who performed current hits and invited others to be the lead singer in their band for a song or two.
Many local businesses donated to the silent auction, which was co-chaired by Lisa Johnson of Lisa Johnson Communications and Dennis Hayes, a 1984 Stockton alumnus.
Among the auction items this year were:
· Steve & Cookie’s By the Bay: A “Chef in Your Home” package including meal planning with Cookie and paired wines with dinner;
· LASIK vision correction by Horizon Eye Care;
· Personal Training and a one year membership donated by Tilton Fitness;
· Golf packages from Atlantic City Country Club, Greate Bay Country Club, Linwood Country Club and the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
Students from the “Events Management and Catering” course in Stockton’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program were among the many volunteers at the Gala.
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