A scholarship fund that will eventually meet the emergency needs of eligible Pennsylvania College of Technology students is more than halfway to endowment, thanks to a recent initiative by employees in two campus offices.
"Dress Down February," born of a committee of co-workers in the Financial Aid and Admissions offices, raised $4,070 for the Mary Beth Saar Memorial Scholarship.
Once endowed, that fund -- named for a co-worker who died in January 2009 - will provide awards to academically qualified students who experience a financial emergency that might jeopardize their ability to remain at Penn College.
"Mary Beth would feel so honored that a group of Penn College employees rallied together to raise much-needed scholarship funds. She worked so hard to ensure students had the economic resources to afford college and was an enormous supporter of the scholarship fund," said Dennis R. Correll, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. "This also demonstrates how so many other employees believe in those same values. I'm truly blessed to work with such individuals."
The fundraiser, endorsed by college President Davie Jane Gilmour, allowed employees to pay $20 for the right to "dress down" every Friday in February (and a bonus day on March 1).
Members of the committee, with assistance from other Financial Aid employees and the Penn College Wildcat, also went to the main buildings throughout the campus on February Fridays, collecting more than $260 toward the total in "loose change."
Saar worked in the Financial Aid office from 2002 until her death on Jan. 23, 2009, at the age of 52. She attended the Penn College forerunner, Williamsport Area Community College, and held an American Bankers Association banking degree and several certificates in finance and banking.
Assisting in the donation was the senior physician assistant class, on campus for a seminar and testing in February. Those students were invited to participate in the fund by "dressing down" for their seminar (they typically must wear professional attire during the seminar), generously contributing $105 toward the total.
"A few of the students were affected by the severe flooding in 2011 and received help from the college in a multitude of ways," noted Heather S. Dorman, clinical director of the PA program. "They wanted the opportunity to pay that forward."
The college president has authorized "Dress Down February" for the next two years to help the Mary Beth Saar Memorial Financial Aid Emergency Relief Scholarship become endowed (a total of $14,417 has been collected toward the necessary $25,000 figure). More than a few student organizations also have expressed interest in raising money for this scholarship.
In addition to money generated through "Dress Down February," contributions can be made online at www.pct.edu/giving or by mail to the Penn College Institutional Advancement Office, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA, 17701-5799.