President’s Business Council Raises $1.1 Million at Annual Dinner
By Kyra Krzywicki – Staff Writer
The University of Scranton’s President’s Business Council raised over $1.1 million for the Presidential Scholarship endowment, honored distinguished guests for their commitment to the University and allowed current students to network with alumni at their recent 21st annual dinner.
Every year, the University invites students who are presidential scholars or who are members of the Business Leadership Honors Program, otherwise known as BLDR, to attend the dinner.
Caitlin Connallon, a senior communications and political science double major, attended this year’s dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City because she is a member of the Business Leadership Honors Program.
Connallon said the event provides a unique experience for students in the program.
“We get to network with all these alumni and President’s Business Council members, which is a great opportunity, and it’s very exciting,” Connallon said.
Connallon was also excited because guests were required to wear formal outfits for the occasion.
“I’ve never been to a black-tie event before, so it was very exciting shopping for dresses and all the guys are wearing tuxes, which is really cool too, so it was very exciting to get all dressed up and network with people,” Connallon said.
Shelby Traver, a junior international business and political science major who will attend the event next year as a member of the class of 2024, said the event gives the President’s Business Council the chance to see how students contribute to the University’s mission.
“Presidential Scholarship is the highest scholarship you can be awarded at the University. It’s a full-tuition scholarship, so they really like to see what these students are doing with what they’ve been given, and the business school’s motto is, ‘To much who has been given, much is expected,’ so kind of keeping that going with the BLDR and the presidential scholars,” Traver said.
While the event strictly hosts University of Scranton guests, Traver says it’s not unusual for a Scranton event to happen in New York City.
“We have a lot of alumni in New York and having people travel to New York is a little easier sometimes than having them travel to Scranton. We also don’t really have a huge business hall that we can hold a ball, basically,” Traver said.
Mike Quinnan, a senior biomathematics major and actuarial science minor, attended the event as a presidential scholar and said the event’s location was part of the appeal.
“The venue was absolutely stunning with Roman columns and a purple-lit ceiling. In fact, much of the décor was purple,” Quinnan said.
However, the venue wasn’t Quinnan’s favorite part of the night.
“Dominic Finan’s Presidential Scholarship speech was stunning. He told his very personal story of how the University became his home, and he gave each presidential scholar a shoutout about their work at the U. It was definitely one of the highlights of the night,” Quinnan said.
This year’s dinner presented the University’s President’s Medal to 1986 graduates Patricia A. Byrnes Clark, the global chief talent officer for the Havas Group, and Thomas P. O’Brien, the senior managing director at SumRidge Partners.
In his acceptance speech, O’Brien revealed the biggest gift the University gave him.
“You know, we all reflect on different things the University provided. For me, it was the lifelong relationships that started 40 years ago. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that,” O’Brien said.
Byrnes Clark’s speech shared a similar reflective sentiment but closed with a message for alumni who are considering making contributions and remaining engaged with their alma mater.
“So, why am I sharing all these moments? Well, I’m sure the alumni in the room have had similar thoughts: ‘I’m too busy,’ ‘The kids are young,’ ‘I’m not sure it’s worth my time.’ I’m sharing them because, as I reflect on my past 15 years, I can tell you I’m grateful I made room for Scranton because the people and the experiences with Scranton have made my life better and have made me a better person,” Byrnes Clark said.