two students in chef outfits holding certificates standing side by side in front of a brick wall

Gabriella Finn and Emily Shaffer

Two students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Academy of Culinary arts have been selected as the 2022 recipients of the Tony and Emma Ricupero-Rustic Lodge Scholarship.

Gabriella Finn, Pinecroft Avenue, Altoona and Emily Shaffer, Curwensville, received the scholarship, which provides financial assistance to full-time students enrolled at the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts. To be eligible for the award, recipients must have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 and be entering their third semester at the academy.

Both Finn and Shaffer have finished their studies at the Academy and their externships.

Finn, daughter of Thomas and Traci Finn, is a 2021 graduate of Bellwood-Antis High School. While at the Academy, she received an award for perfect attendance and was valedictorian of the Baking and Pastry Program. She completed her externship at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington.

Shaffer, daughter of Paula and Gary Shaffer, is a 2020 graduate of Curwensville High School. While at the Academy, she received awards for high academic honors and excellent attendance. She completed her externship at The Biltmore in Asheville, N.C.

The scholarship was established in 2001 by members of the Ricupero and Lubold families to honor Tony and Emma Ricupero’s reputation in the food service industry for hard work, quality service, customer satisfaction and service to the community.  Originating as a "pop stop" in 1945, then owned by Tony and Emma Ricupero, the Rustic Lodge has flourished into Indiana's finest full-service banquet facility, spanning 50 years and three generations.  Tony and Emma Ricupero dedicated their lives to their family and their business and created a Memorial/Rustic Lodge Scholarship that is given to an IUP culinary student every year.

Third-generation owner Joe Lubold has continued the scholarship and this tradition of excellence, ensuring that the Rustic Lodge continues to be Indiana's premier banquet facility by valuing his family's heritage and the hard work that has been put into it.

“The Ricupero-Lubold families are proud to continue the scholarship to support talented culinary arts graduates,” he said.

Since its founding in 1989, more than 4,200 students have studied in Punxsutawney at the Academy of Culinary Arts, which has continued to meet and exceed its enrollment goals.

The Academy’s 16-month program is nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation. After completing a final semester at a paid externship, graduates earn a certificate in culinary arts and can also complete a separate baking and pastry program through the Academy.

The Baking and Pastry Arts program became a stand-alone program in 2019 to allow for additional growth in this program.

The long-range Academy of Culinary Arts master plan, updated in 2022, calls for located all of the educational facilities for the Academy in new or renovated buildings in downtown Punxsutawney, adjacent to the academy’s Fairman Centre along West Mahoning Street.

Photo information: From left, Gabriella Finn and Emily Shaffer, 2022 recipients of the Tony and Emma Ricupero-Rustic Lodge Scholarship.