Penn State Greater Allegheny's 10th annual scholarship benefit raises $125,000

The 10th annual All That’s Jazz scholarship benefit, held Nov. 9 at Penn State Greater Allegheny was a great success, raising more than $125,000, which will be added to the campus’ student scholarship fund. Over the past 10 years, All That’s Jazz has raised more than $730,000 for student scholarships.

A crowd of nearly 300 attended the event, which featured live Jazz music.  Entertainers included Tamara Tunie and Jeff “Tain” Watts.

Tunie, a Homestead, Pa. native, is in her 10th season as Medical Examiner Melinda Warner on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”  She recently starred, with Denzel Washington, in the movie, “Flight.”

One of the most in demand jazz drummers in the world today, Jeff “Tain” Watts is a multi-Grammy Award winning drummer, bandleader and producer. He was featured on the “Tonight Show” with Kevin Eubanks, and in the Spike Lee film, “Mo' Better Blues.”

Emcee Bill Flanagan, host of WPXI’s Our Region’s Business, and Penn State Greater Allegheny Chancellor Curtiss Porter welcomed the crowd.  Flanagan introduced students Diwas Timsina and Tammy Bevilacqua, who have received scholarship funds, and would not be able to attend college without a little help from the donors in the room.  

“Scholarships are so important to our students, more than 90 percent of whom receive financial aid. The money raised at All That’s Jazz helps to ensure that our students stay in school, and takes them one step closer to graduation,” said Porter.

A Bhutanese refugee born and raised in Nepal, Timsina and his parents sought refuge in the U.S. in 2008. Now living in Whitehall, Pa., he has taken every opportunity to overcome his struggles and excel. Scholarship money from All That’s Jazz will help him to realize his dream of graduating with a Penn State degree.

Bevilacqua, from Jeannette, Pa., is a mechanical engineering student and was a member of the Summer STEM program here on campus. She attended Cyber School and, in high school, was invited to participate in the Carnegie Mellon University Women’s Robotic Team. Bevilacqua is the first generation in her family to attend college. Scholarship money she receives will be a great help to her and her family. 

Much of the night’s excitement surrounded the three auctions. Bidders generously supported the silent auction, winning such items as a Franco Harris autographed football, a trip to Washington, D.C. to tour the capitol building, and also gift certificates, sports memorabilia, and cultural events tickets.

In the reverse auction, funds are raised specifically for student materials such as books and laptops.  The roles are reversed and prices decrease over time.  As the price comes down, more and more people offer bids.  All bids are winners, and more students receive assistance.  Porter said, “In just 15 minutes, more than $10,000 was raised from the Reverse Auction, adding to the total we can provide for our students.”

During the live auction, bidders vied for a trip to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, a Superbowl XL hat signed by Steelers Greats, and, the highlight of the auctions, a vacation in Costa Rica.

Every year at All That’s Jazz, the Blue and White Mystery Boxes are a huge hit. This year, one lucky winner received a bracelet from Tiffany’s!

Nancy Seifert watched the evening’s event unfold on the very stage named in memory of her late husband, William. As the entertainment and decorations underwriter, Seifert was closely involved, along with David Pellow, entertainment co-chair, in selecting the musicians for the event. She also oversaw the design of the decor, provided by Vital Signs Pittsburgh.

Also in attendance were Clifford Wise, president of the Penn State Greater Allegheny Advisory Board; and Nancy Traina and Amy Michaliszyn, Capital Campaign Committee Co- Chairs, and Madlyn L. Hanes, Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.

The event encompasses many levels of sponsorship. The Benefactor was Nancy Seifert, who underwrote the entertainment and decorations. In addition, patrons were Amy and Dave Michaliszyn, and the Ellis Porter Scholarship Fund made a contribution at the Ambassador level.  A host of friends, supporters, contributors and donors also gave to the worthy cause. 

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the All That’s Jazz event, attendees were invited to an After Party. The fun continued on as guests were treated to even more music, dancing, food, and fun.

It’s not too late to make a donation to the Penn State Greater Allegheny Student Scholarship fund. For more information on how to help with next year's event, contact Director of Development Joe Edmiston, at jre14@psu.edu or 412-675-9047.

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Last Updated November 13, 2013