NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. --The pins were falling, the scores were rising and the philanthropy was growing March 26 at the Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society’s 15th annual Alumni Bowlathon. Through the generosity of alumni and friends, the society raised $7,100, which matches the record for the best total in bowlathon history.
More than 150 alumni and friends filled Wildlife Lanes to capacity for the New Kensington society event that matched the bowlathon standard set in 2014. Proceeds from event are plowed back into the society’s endowed scholarship at the campus.
John Spadaro, a 1982 Penn State graduate and a member of the society’s board of directors, has chaired the event since its inception in 2003. Vera Spina Greenwald, president of the society, praised Spadaro and his group of volunteers.
“We had another banner year, and that is thanks to our event coordinator, John Spadaro,” said Greenwald, a 2003 alumnus. “John continues to amaze me year after year. The day would not be possible without him.
Thirty-six teams filled the lanes of the Lower Burrell bowling center. The bulk of the proceeds was raised through the generosity of sponsors, led by tournament sponsors, Dlubak Powder Coating & Design and FireFan Live Gameday Prediction, and Entertainment sponsor, Pitt Specialty Supply Inc. In addition, Mary Kay Fitzsimmons made an individual donation of $500 and 31 lane sponsors, including 20 “Big Ten” sponsors who donated $100 each and 11 “Nittany Lion” sponsors who donated $50 each, bolstered the numbers.
“To see everything come together on ‘game day’ after months of hard work makes it all worthwhile,” Spadaro said. “It could not happen without our dedicated sponsors who each year come to the table with their donations, which go to a great cause…the students.”
Handling game day operations are a cadre of society board members who volunteer to register the bowlers, manage the raffle contests and ensure the enjoyment by the guests.
“The bowlathon is an all hands on deck kind of day for us, and I love to see how everyone pulls together for the event,” Greenwald said. “Thanks to our society volunteers for making it a huge success, and special thanks to everyone who came out and had a great day with us.”
Proceeds from the bowlathon support the Penn State New Kensington Endowed Scholarship that funds yearly awards to campus undergraduates. In the past six years, the endowment has risen from $51,000 to $120,000, as the society has donated nearly $70,000 to the campus and scholarship.
For the current academic year, the New Kensington society awarded a record $6,000 in scholarships to three campus students: Nathan Piluso of Kittanning; Jack DelloStritto of Monroeville; and Justin Dumm of Penn Hills. Each earned $2,000 awards. The scholarship total eclipsed the $5,500 given to campus students a year ago. Since 1998, the society has awarded $60,000 to 62 campus students.
“Our mission is to represent all current and former students and friends of Penn State through interaction and service to improve the New Kensington campus and the University,” said Spadaro, who attended the campus before completing his bachelor’s degree at University Park. “Penn State New Kensington students are the beneficiaries of the bowlathon proceeds.”
Society on campus
In addition to its scholarship funds, the alumni organization, which comprises Penn State graduates from the New Kensington and University Park campuses, the society donates $500 annually to the Academic and Student Awards reception, which recognizes more than 100 campus students and their families for their academic and extracurricular accomplishments. The awards ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Friday, April 28, in the Forum Theatre.
The New Kensington society also engages in various campus and alumni projects throughout the year. It interacts with former and current students by sponsoring social events and other networking activities. In addition to raising money, board members are active on campus. They serve as a resource at many student functions, including admissions events, where they to talk with prospective students, and career events, where they discuss job opportunities with soon-to-be graduates.
The society represents more than 7,000 alumni living in the Alle-Kiski Valley. Penn State alumni and friends are encouraged to reconnect with the University and campus by attending monthly meetings. The group meets eight times a year, at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday in February, April, May, June, August, September, October and November in the campus art gallery. The next meeting is April 17.
The society's next major fundraiser is the alumni golf scramble that is set for 12:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 7, at Arnold Palmer’s Latrobe Country Club. For information on the golf outing, call 724-334-6057 or email Kary Coleman, director of development and alumni relations.