Records and pins fall at annual Bowl-a-thon; fundraiser nets $7,100

Records are made to be broken. At the Olympics, they are set by a thousandth second. At the Alle-Kiski Society Alumni Bowl-a-thon, they are set by a thousand dollars.

More than 180 alumni and friends filled Wildlife Lanes to capacity March 30 for the 12th annual Bowl-a-thon and raised more than $7,100 for Penn State New Kensington scholarships and projects. The total surpassed the previous record of $6,000 that was set a year ago. John Spadaro, a 1982 Penn State graduate and a member of the society’s board of directors, has chaired the event since its inception in 2003. Tim Oberlin, president of the society, praised Spadaro and his group of volunteers.

“In any task you need a good leader, and John fulfills that role wonderfully,” said Oberlin, a 2000 alumnus. “But you also need great volunteers to put their time, money and energy into the event. I want to thank everyone who organized, volunteered, bowled, obtained a sponsor, donated something or convinced their friends and family to give up a Sunday to come out and support a great cause. I am very proud to be part of such a great group of people.”

Thirty-six teams filled all the lanes of the Lower Burrell bowling center. The bulk of the proceeds, more than $5,000, was raised through the generosity of presenting sponsor Phil and Jill Binotto of Eckert Seamans, Attorneys at Law, and entertainment sponsors HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital and Lanco Electric Inc. In addition, 50 lane sponsors, including 28 “Big Ten” sponsors who donated $100 each and 22 “Nittany Lion” sponsors who donated $50 each, were instrumental in establishing a new standard.

"To see everything come together on ‘game day’ after months of hard work makes it all worthwhile,” said Spadaro. “It could not happen without our dedicated sponsors who each year come to the table with their donations, which go to a great cause ... the students.”

The Bowl-a-thon is the Alle-Kiski Society's spring fundraiser, and all proceeds benefit campus projects, such as the Academic and Student Achievement Awards reception and the Alle-Kiski Society Endowed Scholarship that funds yearly awards to campus undergraduates. For 2013-14 the society gave $3,600 in scholarships to three New Kensington campus students -- Joshua Swinehart, of Spring Church; Jennifer Phillips, of Vandergrift; and Caitlyn Cody, of Leechburg. Since 1998, the Alle-Kiski Society has awarded $36,000 to 45 students.

“Our mission is to represent all current and former students and friends of Penn State through interaction and service to improve the New Kensington campus and the University,” said Spadaro, who attended the campus before completing his bachelor’s degree at University Park. “Penn State New Kensington students are the beneficiaries of the Bowl-a-thon proceeds.”

Last June, the society fulfilled a four-year $26,000 pledge, 12 months ahead of schedule, to increase its scholarship endowment from $51,000 to $77,000. At its February meeting, the society donated an additional $7,500 to the endowment, effectively upping the principal by 66 percent. Using the proceeds from last August’s alumni golf tournament, the society, which is based at Penn State New Kensington, was able to give the New Kensington campus a total of $34,000 for upperclassmen scholarships, ballooning the scholarship principal to $85,000.

In the past four years, the society has donated more than $45,000 to the campus. In addition to its scholarship largesse, the alumni organization, which comprises Penn State graduates from the New Kensington and University Park campuses, made a $10,000 gift to campus athletics for equipment for the cardiovascular fitness room. The awards reception recognizes more than 100 campus students and their families for their academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

There were four teams from the campus vying for the Chancellor’s Cup, emblematic of bowling supremacy of Upper Burrell, home town of the campus. The Old Timers, under the tutelage of captain Ron “Bubba” Hileman, successfully defended the cup, holding off a late charge by Bill Christy’s Juicers, the last team not named Old Timers to hoist the cup. The tournament’s high game of 224 was turned in by Steve Perroz and high set of 634 by Tim “Tino” Perroz, both members of the victorious squad. In the Bowl-a-thon’s 12-year history, the Old Timers have quaffed from the goblet a record seven times. The Mean Four own two titles, and Juicers, Fun Fest and Half-Keglers, the inaugural cup holders, are one-win-wonders.

The society's next major fundraiser is the alumni golf scramble that is set for Friday, Aug. 8, at the Links at Spring Church. For information on the golf outing, call 724-334-6049 or

For Bowl-a-thon enthusiasts, the 2015 edition is scheduled for Sunday, March 22, at the same lanes.

For photos of the Bowl-a-thon, visit

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Last Updated April 16, 2014