Scholarship Ball raised over $1 Million, setting event record

The Charger Bulletin

By Leah Myers & Samantha Mathewson

University of New Haven alumni set the record for the most money raised at the annual Scholarship Ball last May.

(From left to right) Distinguished Alumni Awardee Dr. Marc Benhuri ‘69 , Distinguished Alumni  Awardee Michael Quiello ‘74, Chairman of the UNH Board of Governors Phil Bartels, UNH  President Steven H. Kaplan, President’s Award Recipient Charles Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA,  and Distinguished Alumni Awardee Alice Gao ‘94 MBA. (Photo obtained via Newhaven.edu)
(From left to right) Distinguished Alumni Awardee Dr. Marc Benhuri ‘69 , Distinguished Alumni
Awardee Michael Quiello ‘74, Chairman of the UNH Board of Governors Phil Bartels, UNH
President Steven H. Kaplan, President’s Award Recipient Charles Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA,
and Distinguished Alumni Awardee Alice Gao ‘94 MBA. (Photo obtained via Newhaven.edu)

Through admittance tickets sales, silent auctions, and scholarship donations that evening, the UNH alumni raised over $1 million dollars at the Scholarship Ball, which is the highest amount they have raised at this event.

The thirty-first Annual Alumni Scholarship Ball was held on Sat, April 12, 2014. This ceremony took place at the David. A Beckerman Recreation Center at 6 p.m. with over 300 people in attendance that evening.

During this event, several of the distinguished donors were honored for their generous donations to UNH. Students that have benefited from UNH scholarships also attended to speak on behalf of the student body.

All of the money raised at the Scholarship Ball directly funds student scholarships, and the ball is one of the prime methods of raising money for student scholarships.

Previously, at the Scholarship Ball in 2013, $862,000 was raised. UNH alumni contribute to over 150 scholarships intended for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Every year, a few outstanding alumni are awarded for their extravagant donations and for their hard work both and dedication at their careers and on campus.

This past year, there were three recipients for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The recipients were Dr. Marc Benhuri ’69, Alice Gao ’94, and Michael Quiello ’74.

Upon recognition, Benhuri, owner of The Benhuri Center for Laser and Implant Dentistry, which was rated “New York’s most sought-after dental facility visited by celebrities, CEOs and foreign dignitaries from around the world,” read from a poem he titled, “What I Have Learned,” which encompassed his gratitude for all UNH has given him.

Gao also reflected on UNH. “My ideas and ideals were shaped at UNH, and the school has truly inspired me to reach for my full potential.”

For Quiello, UNH gave him the tools necessary to compete with the best of the best. “UNH was a springboard for me to be able to fly higher than I ever dreamed.”

The President’s Award, presented by President Steve Kaplan, was awarded to Charlie Pompea ’71, ’90 EMBA. While modest, Pompea said, “I don’t think I have done much. I am just happy to be a part of the vision of the school,” upon receiving his award.

One of the many scholarships that have come to use are the DeNardis Endowed Scholarship and the Emergency Scholarship Fund.

Guest speaker, Jenny Tanski ’14, praised how her peers and UNH have helped her graduate on time and pay off loans with these scholarships at a time of need.
In 2013, Tanski lost her parents in an accident after a blizzard and had little income to follow.

“I was so scared,” said Tanski. “This couldn’t happen to my family. Not us. Not now. Not ever.”

After being stuck inside for three days following a historic blizzard last winter, Tanski was getting cabin fever. So, Tanski and her sister decided they would make a short walk from their Milford home to find something to eat, and they invited their parents.

Jenny Tanski ‘14 with Tammie Pompea, wife of President’s Award winner Charlie Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA  (Photo obtained via newhaven.edu)
Jenny Tanski ‘14 with Tammie Pompea, wife of President’s Award winner Charlie Pompea ‘71, ‘90 EMBA (Photo obtained via newhaven.edu)

Since the sidewalks weren’t clear, the four walked in a single file line along Route 1 as close as possible to the snow banks, but the trip turned tragic when a Black SUV came barreling at the group.

Thankfully, Tanski’s younger sister was not hit, and Tanski avoided serious injury, but her parents were not as fortunate.

While Tanski spoke to the audience, she reflected on her college career saying, “You are investing in dreams. In my dreams. In dreams of fellow students who never thought they could achieve so much and strive for even more.”

Tanski majored in criminal justice and graduated in the spring of 2014. She hopes to pursue a career working with troubled adolescents.

President Kaplan explained that the scholarship ball continues to increasingly raise more money each year.

“The reason,” President Kaplan said, “is that people are excited about what is happening here. Donors that have given in the past are giving more because the university is doing so well and they want to see more people have the opportunity to study here. Scholarships enable [the university] to recruit talented students and to retain them.”

“I believe it is important for Alumni to contribute to the University to ensure the institution remains strong into the future and to ensure that deserving students, who otherwise could not afford it, have the opportunity to take advantage of all the University has to offer,” said Paula-Marie Uscilla, assistant general counsel, litigation at United Technologies.

Uscilla graduated from UNH in 1999, with a BS in Sports Management.

Next year’s thirty-second Annual Scholarship Ball will take place on April 18, 2015.