Business Leaders Chair UB Gala to Support Student Scholarships

By Cynthia Machamer

Release Date: October 12, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will host its second Scholarship Gala on Nov. 10 to raise funds for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships across the university. The goal is to raise $200,000, a 33 percent increase over last year's total.

Western New York business leaders Michele D. Trolli of M&T Bank and Paul J. Harder of Cliffstar Corp. will serve as co-hosts of the event, slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Center for the Arts on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

While nearly half of last year's UB undergraduate students demonstrated financial need, only half of these students received enough assistance through scholarships and grants. The other students had to supplement their financial aid through student loans, work-study programs and part-time work to fund their education at UB.

"I believe it is a fundamental part of our mission to offer an absolutely first-rate education to all qualified students," said President John B. Simpson. "Sometimes financial considerations can be the deciding factor in whether or not a student is able to attend UB.  The Scholarship Gala has become an annual event that helps to raise awareness and support for these students."

Harder is chief executive officer of Cliffstar Corp., a processor and producer of private-label fruit juices headquartered in Dunkirk. He serves on the UB Foundation board of trustees and is a supporter of the university's efforts to develop a knowledge-based economy in Buffalo Niagara.

"I understand the value of an education and the associated costs because three of my children have earned degrees from UB," Harder said. "Scholarships are critical in ensuring academic opportunities."

Trolli is executive vice president and chief information officer at M&T Bank. She oversees the operation of four major segments within the bank's Technology and Banking Operations Division. She is a UB Foundation trustee and a member of its Finance Committee.

"As members of the business community and civic leaders, we must support the University at Buffalo and its role in our region's economic growth," Trolli said. "Scholarships allow us to educate a diverse student body and develop our future leaders."

The event will feature student entertainment including Music and Theatre students, Zodiaque Dance Company, Thunder of the East Marching Band, Buffalo Chips, student athletes as volunteer hosts, UB mascot Victor E. Bull and student cheerleaders. Dancing to the Billy McEwen Band will follow dinner and a live auction by Cash Cunningham. For ticket information, contact Suzanne Chamberlain at (716) 829-2632, ext. 241 or .