Haley Batchelder ’16 has received a number of grants from the Westfield State Foundation, Inc., including the Celeste Loughman Scholarship, which she says inspires her to put her best foot forward.
“It’s incredible affirmation that the work I’m doing is paying off and pushes me to work my hardest,” Batchelder says.
Derick Noland ’17 also says receiving Foundation funds pushes him closer to his career aspirations: “Because of the support I have received over the years, my goal of being a physical education teacher is within reach.”
The Foundation, and its annual gala, provides an opportunity for giving so that students like Batchelder and Noland can focus on learning without working multiple jobs and worrying about paying monthly bills.
You, too, can make a difference in the lives of students struggling to get through college by attending the upcoming gala on Saturday, May 7.
Festivities will include an interactive academic showcase of students from a variety of disciplines, live student entertainment, distinctive cocktails, a widely popular “dinner-by-the-bite,” and a spectacular dessert finale.
Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will support student scholarships and initiatives at the University’s new Science and Innovation Center, which is opening in September.
In May 2014, the Westfield State Foundation organized its first gala to commemorate Westfield State University’s 175th anniversary. With the goal of showcasing the University’s history and how far it has come during its nearly two centuries of existence, students and specific departments presented, performed, and spoke about research, clubs, and happenings around campus both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to giving community members a glance into the everyday life of students and faculty, the gala accomplished a larger goal of raising $100,000, all of which went directly to student scholarships.
Following the success of the 2014 gala, the Foundation organized Pathways to Excellence, another fundraising event in 2015 which yielded similar results: over $100,000 to support student scholarships and the new Science and Innovation Center.
There are many possibilities when it comes to raising money, but Mike Knapik, Executive Director of Advancement, Alumni, and University Relations, says his department organized the galas to give donors a preview of how their contributions are being used.
“People love having access to students and seeing first-hand the positive impact their donations make,” Knapik says.
Barbara Braem-Jensen, a corporator of the Foundation Board, is a frequent donor who chooses to give directly to student scholarship initiatives. “Scholarships give young people a feeling that there’s somebody out there who believes in them,” she says. “It gives them a wonderful life experience they might not otherwise have.”
Tickets for the gala cost $75. To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact Lisa McMahon at (413) 485-7360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.