Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State Foundation celebrates its 37th year with record fundraising totals to support student success

On September 26, The Westfield State Foundation, the philanthropic partner of Westfield State University, held its 37th Annual Dinner. The celebratory event recognized the more than $2 million raised by the foundation, included testimony from student scholars, announced the recipient of the 2017 Foundation Stewardship Award and welcomed the newest members of the Foundation.

“The Westfield State Foundation reached new heights this past year by doubling the funds pledged and received in support of our students. We expect to build on that in this current year with new activities, increased cultivation, and new board members who will help us broaden our outreach. It is a terrific time to be part of the Westfield State,” said Foundation President James Leahy ’99 at the event attended by about 125 supporters.

Leahy presented a check to the Westfield State University for $1.1 million to complete the Foundation’s commitment to make the university an All-Steinway School with the purchase and installment of 20 Steinway pianos. Westfield State University President Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha accepted the check on the university’s behalf.

“The Foundation’s efforts, support and generosity have been incredible,” said Torrecilha. “I thank the directors and corporators for embodying our mission, serving as such strong ambassadors, and strengthening our ability to advance our mission centered on student success.”

In addition to the presentation of funds, the annual event also featured student scholarship recipient testimony and the presentation of the 2017 Foundation Stewardship Award. Event attendees heard from Springfield-native Presia Kegler, double majoring in Ethnic and Gender Studies and Liberal Studies. They also heard from scholarship recipient Jacob Hough, a Southwick native who is majoring in Finance. Both shared accounts of the opportunities made available because of their scholarship awards.

Retired professor Dr. Kamal Ali was presented the 2017 Foundation Stewardship Award. Upon his retirement, the Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies established a scholarship in his name. The scholarship has a dual focus, open to Muslim students or any student looking to embark on a progressive and transformational student-centered global learning opportunity.

In addition, the annual meeting portion of the Sept. 26 event included the announcement of the Foundation’s slate of officers, as well as new directors and corporators.

Officers include Chair James Leahy ’99; Vice Chair Andrew Oleksak ’69; Treasurer Sharon Czarnecki ’92; Clerk George Flevotomos; and Past Chair John Torrone ’00. New directors include Timothy Alben ’84, Melissa Alvarado ’99, Nancy Daly ’91, Robert Mahar ’56, Glen McKenna ’88, and James Velis; while new corporators include Christopher Bone, Suzanne David, William Duval, Albert Masciadrelli, William Pianka, Jeffery Templeton, and Marion Templeton.    

“The increased diligence of the Institutional Advancement team has paid large dividends this year. We have accomplished a great deal, all in support of enriching the educational experience and accessibility for our students. We have highly committed alumni and donors whose incredible generosity has provided critical financial assistance to our most deserving students attain their educational goals. I look forward to carrying the success of the past year forward to an even brighter 2018,” said Westfield State University Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director for the Westfield State Foundation Dr. Erica Broman.

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