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Inaugural Gala to Aid Student Scholarships

Local business leaders and their spouses to host

Release Date: August 31, 2006

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From left, Paul Harder, Barbara Harder, Connie Walsh and Jack Walsh will host the inaugural UB Scholarship Gala.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The inaugural University at Buffalo Scholarship Gala will be held on Nov. 4. to raise funds for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships across the university.

Western New York business executives and civic leaders Paul J. Harder and John N. Walsh, III, and their wives, Barbara Harder and Connie Walsh, will host the gala at 6 p.m. in the Center for the Arts on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

Increasing scholarship opportunities for students is a priority at UB, according to UB President John B. Simpson. Nearly half of last year's UB undergraduates had financial need, and only about half of these students received assistance through scholarships or grants. The other students turned to student loans, work-study programs and part-time work.

"Even in public universities, scholarship support is critical to creating new opportunities for our students in every field and at every level of academic study," said Simpson.  "UB is committed to ensuring access to the opportunities and benefits afforded by a first-rate education. This gala, which we plan to host annually, is one important way we can raise awareness about student needs and increase resources for our students."

Harder is president of CHEP II LLC, a private investment firm specializing in Western New York technology-oriented start-ups and entrepreneurial enterprises. A member of several professional and civic boards, Harder also serves on the UB Foundation board of trustees and is a supporter of UB's efforts to develop a knowledge-based economy in the region.

Harder said he and Barbara are co-chairing this gala because "scholarships are critical in ensuring academic opportunities."

"As parents, we can personally attest to the value of an education and the costs associated with being a student," he added. "We understand the value of an education and the associated costs because three of our children have earned undergraduate, graduate or medical degrees from UB, and our son is not finished yet; he's a doctoral candidate."

Walsh is chairman and CEO of Walsh Duffield Cos., and a longtime advocate for the university and its students. Active in professional and community groups, Walsh is the vice chair of the UB Foundation board and has served on various other advisory committees in support of four UB presidents. He recently chaired fundraising efforts for the university's Honors Program.

Walsh said he and his wife are honored to co-chair the gala because "scholarships attract academically talented students, encourage greater diversity among the student body and the faculty, and raise the overall morale of a university."

He added: "Paul Harder and I were privileged to attend universities that provided us with a strong foundation for future success. Now is our opportunity to give back in a very small way to benefit those who follow us."

The event will feature dancing to the Billy McEwen Band, preceded by dinner and a live auction by Cash Cunningham. For ticket or sponsorship information, contact Nicole Shepherd at 716-829-2632, ext. 257 or email nms23@buffalo.edu.