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Westfield State fundraiser offers ‘unique’ take on progressive dinner

Westfield State fundraiser offers ‘unique’ take on progressive dinner

WESTFIELD, Mass., May 5, 2016-The third annual premier fundraiser for Westfield State University and the Westfield State Foundation will take place on campus Saturday, May 7 beginning at 5 p.m.  The theme is Pathways to Excellence, celebrating the innovative work of students, faculty and staff.

“This unique event promises to be as exciting as last year’s Scholarship Gala,” said Michael Knapik, executive director of the Foundation. “It promises to be another great evening with 100% of the proceeds, benefitting scholarships, internships  and  the university’s  new Science and Innovation Center, that opens this coming fall.”

The evening will include an interactive showcase of the work of students from all of the academic disciplines, during which attendees may meet students, who have prepared presentations highlighting their academic work and research.

“Our exceptional students are eager to show off their research, coursework, and projects, many of which have been presented at local, regional, and national conferences,” said Lisa McMahon, major gifts director of the Westfield State Foundation.

Entertainment for the evening will be offered by students, alumni, and faculty.  It will include a student jazz quartet featuring Will Carroll ’19, Jaime Dever ’19, Carolyn Dufraine ’18, and Brandon Goulet ’11; solo guitarist Matt Patton ’15; saxophonist Professor Ed Orgill and guitarist John Mason.    Two student vocal ensembles, the Night Owls and AcaOwlettes, will perform acapella selections.

The dessert finale of the evening will spotlight pianist, Tyler Cook ’16, as well as selections from the music department and theatre arts program’s acclaimed production of the Broadway musical, “Chicago,” performed by Rachel Cofsky ’17, Patrice Metcalf ’16, Jake O’Kane ’19, and Glenna Forgue ’19.

According to McMahon, Pathways to Excellence will surprise participants.

 “Like last year’s event, we hope that we have crafted a distinctively different fundraiser, which the university’s past, present and future,” McMahon said. “It’s a unique, academic take on ‘a progressive dinner,’ featuring healthy servings of information, music, great food and a few surprises.”

Westfield Bank is the premier sponsor of this year’s Gala. Platinum sponsors include Whip City Fiber, Commercial Distributing Co., Inc., and Baystate Dental PC, while diamond sponsors are Westfield Electroplating Company, Barnes and Noble and Berkshire bank.

Baystate Noble Hospital, Shortstop Bar and Grill, Xfinity, Specialty Bolt & Screw, Inc., and Whalley Computer Associates, Inc. have provided gold sponsorship. Silver sponsors include Courthouse Square and Peter Pan Bus Lines, the Westfield News Group, Hi-Tech Window & Siding Installations, Inc., Sunshine Sign, Liberty Mutual Life Insurance, and People’s Bank.

Bronze sponsors are the Washington Center, Walsh Brothers, Inc., Wassmann Audio Video, Inc. and Scuderi Clean Energy.

The event will also feature distinctive cocktails and “dinner-by-the bite,” served as hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening by Sodexo Catering Services, as well as standing food stations at various locations, including University Hall, and the Ely Campus Center. The evening will conclude with a special dessert finale in Scanlon Banquet Hall.

Tickets are still available. They are $75 per person and $700 for groups of ten, and can be purchased at the Westfield State Foundation Office across from the Tavern Restaurant at 2 Broad Street, online at or by phone at 413-485-7360.