Event proceeds benefited STEM wing and honored Charlie Dent, former congressman and 1982 alumnus
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley held the Charles W. Dent Blue & White Gala virtually on May 20 where nearly 250 guests paid tribute to the former congressman for his years of service to the community while raising essential funds for the new PSU-LV Charles W. Dent STEM wing.
The gala featured CNN personality Mike Smerconish and testaments to Dent from other top regional leaders including: Butz Corporation Chairman Lee Butz, Penn State President Eric Barron, Orasure’s Senior Vice President of Government and External Affairs Debra Fraser-Howze who& recently retired, Prominent Regional Attorney Delores A. Laputka, Former PPL Chairman and CEO Bill Spence, City Center Investment Corporation’s Founder and CEO J.B. Reilly, Former Bethlehem Steel CEO Hank Barnette, Penn State Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses and Executive Chancellor Madlyn L. Hanes and Dent’s daughter Kathryn Dent.
The event raised more than $14,000 for the wing which is part of the campus’ $14.4 million expansion project that is opening in phases beginning this month. In addition to a full-service dining hall and additional student networking space, the STEM portion of the expansion includes an organic chemistry lab and other student resources. Each portion will allow the university to deliver the skillsets desired by regional employers and allow students to complete the full complement of undergraduate courses needed to apply for medical school locally. Attendees got a special look at the expansion thanks to a video documenting its progress from the Butz Corporation.
In her remarks at the event, Penn State Lehigh Valley Chancellor Tina Q. Richardson spoke directly to Charlie, “Charlie, we are so honored to have your name on our STEM wing in the new expansion – and so appreciative of your support and advocacy for this project. On behalf of the countless students whose lives you will touch through this initiative - thank you,” Richardson said.
“To hear all those student testimonials [throughout the gala event] was just really heart-warming, to hear the students talk about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math, their majors and all the great things they are going to do with their lives and how Penn State is opening the doors for all of those young people and so many more to follow. I can’t begin to thank you enough, to everyone who has made a contribution in support of this STEM wing at Penn State Lehigh Valley campus, which is a real gem of our community,” Dent said in his remarks.
Originally planned as an in-person event, the online gala brought together local and state leaders, community members, alumni, faculty and staff for a celebration, a silent auction, music and a performance by the Allentown High School Chorale. Former CBS Anchor/Penn State Lehigh Valley Faculty member, Liz Keptner, served as master of ceremonies. The gala committee included: Community Advising Committee—Pam Dent, Polly Beste, Carol Halper, Ilene Wood; Video—Steve Butz/Christian Pungo; Allen Chorale Director—Brandon Remp; Penn State Lehigh Valley Planning and Execution--Sandy Kile, Eileen Grodziak, Liz Keptner, Camille Kacerik, Sharon Tercha, Kate Ginnard, Amy Gery, Debbie Zurich-Smyrl, Ann Lalik, Pam Kiser, Brie Burdge, Dennille Schuler, Suzanne Stianche; Closed Captioning—Abby Ward.
Kate Ginnard, Interim Director of Campus Development at Penn State Lehigh Valley, acknowledged the event sponsors: “We would like to thank our Leadership Sponsors for their support and helping us put on a successful event that raised critical funds for the STEM wing: Bill and Denise Spence; Alvin H. Butz, Inc./Butz Foundation; Vincent Sorgi; Michael and Christine Perrucci; The Donley Foundation; Charles and Pamela Dent; Victaulic; Keystone Savings Foundation; John McGlade; B. Braun Medical Inc.; ESSA Bank & Trust; PPL Corporation, and Factory LLC.”
To find out more or to support the campus expansion, contact Ginnard, Penn State Lehigh Valley Development Office, at 610-285-5072.
About Penn State Lehigh Valley
Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a Penn State education in a small campus setting that integrates individualized teaching, research, and dynamic community outreach. With its convenient location in Center Valley, traditional students and adult learners can choose from many options including 10 bachelor’s programs, which can be completed at the campus, as well as access to 275 majors offered by other Penn State campuses. In addition, students and community members who have a scalable business idea are invited to participate in professional development offered by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs. The campus’ diverse Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training, and youth programming. For more information, visit lehighvalley.psu.edu.