Benefit Gala Burnishes IUP Image

A stellar spring gathering of Western Pennsylvania alumni and friends of IUP will honor recipients of awards for distinction, service, and philanthropy and provide a glittery evening of dinner, dancing, and fun. Called the President’s Legacy Gala, the gathering is expected to become an annual event.

The 2008 gala will be Saturday, April 26, at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. The evening will start with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by dinner, an awards program, and dancing.

Cochairs for the event are Catherine Talerico Renda ’61 and Ruth Riesenman ’64. According to Riesenman, the gala has two goals.

“We want to honor outstanding individuals and organizations who are from Western Pennsylvania or who have made a significant impact on the region,” she said. “We also want to raise at least $100,000 for the newly established University Fund for Academic Excellence.”

Renda and Riesenman are members of the Foundation for IUP Board of Directors, general sponsor of the event. Tickets are priced at $135 per person.

“Sponsorships by businesses and professional groups are important to the gala’s success,” Riesenman said. Lynn Barger, the university’s director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, is handling sponsorship commitments; her contact information is at the end of this article.

“Even though invitations will be sent only to alumni and friends in the Pittsburgh region,” Riesenman said, “we hope that those from all over the country will want to participate, either in person or through the on-line auction.”

Examples of items to be auctioned may include original artwork, memorabilia from Pittsburgh sports teams, a spa weekend at an exclusive resort, and items ranging from antiques to electronics. Information is available on line at Legacy Gala.

The following awards will be presented: Presidential Legacy Award for Alumni Distinction, Presidential Legacy Award for Civic Service, and Presidential Legacy Award for Philanthropy. Only the first award requires the recipient be an alumnus or alumna of IUP.

The President’s Legacy Gala is part of a larger initiative highlighting and celebrating IUP’s Pittsburgh connections in a number of ways. In November, for example, Heinz Hall was the setting for “IUP Plays Pittsburgh,” which showcased the university’s musical riches.

Each year, IUP draws more than two thousand students from the Pittsburgh region and sends more than a thousand student interns to work for Pittsburgh area businesses and nonprofit organizations. More than twenty thousand IUP alumni live in the region.

Tickets for the Presidential Legacy Gala are available from the University Events office at 724-357-2145. Sponsorships may be arranged through Lynn Barger at 724-357-6454.