Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

On Saturday, April 2, the West Chester University Foundation staged the WCU 34th Annual Presidential Scholarship Community Gala. The event took place in Hollinger Field House from 6 to 11 p.m. and the theme was the West Chester Gold Rush.

Hollinger Field House’s basketball court was transformed into a ballroom, with barn facades on either side, swinging bar doors at the entrance.

Many men in attendance adorned bolo ties and cowboy hats, while many women wore cowboy boots or dresses reminiscent of the 1850s.

Along with members of the board and trustees, students were in attendance. The WCU Foundation donated money to student organizations in exchange for student volunteers for the evening.

Some of the students included members of the Friars’ Society, an all-male service organization, who acted as valets for the evening.

Some members of the Student Government Association (SGA) assisted in running the coat check and welcoming guests.

Student organizations such as SGA and the Reserves Officers Training Corps (ROTC) purchased tables at the gala.

The event began with an opening dance number perfumed by WCU’s Dance Team, followed by President Chris Fiorentino’s opening remarks.

Fiorentino, who had been elected as interim president exactly one year prior, joked about his ability to survive in his position.

He recognized the hard work of co-chairs Stephanie and Ed Collison and their committee at the WCU Foundation. He then introduced the university’s board and trustees and thanked the lead sponsors for their contribution to the event.

Fiorentino recognized every individual in attendance, saying that the event wouldn’t have been what it was without everyone’s participation.

Subsequently, the current presidential scholar, Cameron Cooper ’17, took the stage to give a brief testimonial in his time at WCU and how this scholarship impacted that.

Cooper spoke about what the scholarship gave him, including two service trips to South Africa and the ability to have scored in the top 98 percentile for his MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test).

Cooper then spoke directly to incoming recipients of the scholarship, encouraging them to dream big and push their boundaries, just as he did when he was an incoming freshman.

Fiorentino then recognized incoming presidential scholars, who each earned the $7,5000 tuition merit-based scholarship.

These students are Robert Langel, mathematics BSEd from Newport, Pa., Nikolas Novakovic, physics major from Ambler, Pa. and Rachel Bobb, nursing BSN from Blackwood, N.j.

Fiorentino then recognized and introduced Aramark’s executive chef, Jason Lewis, who highlighted the night’s menu.

After this, Stephanie and Ed Collision thanked everyone for attending and presented what the rest of the night would look like. The WCU Dance team performed once again and guests began to line up for food. The entertainment group The Vine Tribe took the stage, providing live music for the rest of the evening.

Kinjal Shah is a third-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at

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