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Weber urges faculty, staff to attend UB gala

Members of the Zodiaque Dance Company are frequent entertainers at UB Scholarship Galas.


Published October 24, 2013

“It is a celebration of the generous UB spirit that pervades our staff and faculty. We hope as many as possible will join us.”
A. Scott Weber, senior vice provost for academic affairs

A. Scott Weber, UB senior vice provost for academic affairs, first attended the university’s annual scholarship gala in 2009.

He and his wife, Jo Ann Weber, were fortunate to attend as part of a group of UB Engineering professors, administrators and alumni at a table purchased by Turner Construction, the contractor that was then building Davis Hall, the school’s new home on the North Campus.

Weber remembers enjoying the evening—and other gala events since then—which included great food, unique entertainment, dancing, even flash mobs. However, what lingers most is the good feeling from contributing to help UB students, he says.

“I find the energy of this community event to be exciting,” he says. “People arrive with a great feeling and leave with an even better feeling. But what’s most important is participating in the gala in order to contribute to a great cause: our UB students.”

Weber says the dollars the gala raises “have a huge impact in helping students complete their college educations, secure internships, then jobs.

“We know from our enrollment data that scholarships are very important to families and often are the deciding factor whether the student will attend the university. By giving, we all help attract deserving, accomplished students and ensure they complete an excellent academic experience. Scholarship funds are also used to help students in need so they will not have to interrupt their studies due to finances. There’s a great need for these dollars.”

Weber is working with his gala co-chairs to ensure everyone hears about this year’s event—the eighth annual—to be held from 6-11 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Edward Wright Practice Facility in Alumni Arena, North Campus. Scott and Jo Ann Weber are co-chairs, along with Mark and Sharon Hamister, and Gary and Donna Bichler. Presenting sponsors are Verizon, the Hamister Group and R&P Oak Hill Development.

Individual tickets are $200 each, while tables of 10 are priced at $1,600. Weber encourages faculty and staff to join a group and sponsor a table, making the event more accessible.

The event features silent and live auctions, offering guests a chance to bid on a variety of items, from a vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colo., to artwork and jewelry—even a trip to see the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards next January in Los Angeles, complete with airfare and red-carpet seats. The most valuable item this year is a limited-edition lithograph by Salvador Dali valued at nearly $10,000.

Visit the Giving to UB website to purchase gala tickets.

If people can’t attend the gala, there are other ways to contribute, Weber notes.

The gala raffles are a popular option, and there are two this year; each charges $25 per ticket—or five tickets for $100. The first raffle, open only to UB faculty and staff, will award a VIP campus parking space for one year, beginning in January 2014, to the holder of the winning ticket. More information on this prize can be found here. Tickets must be purchased before Nov. 4, when the prizewinner’s name will be announced.

The winner of the second raffle, open to all, will receive a one-week vacation for six at a location of his or her choice, a prize valued at $2,500. The winner will be announced at the gala.

A new feature of this year’s gala is an art poster contest for UB students, with a $1,000 scholarship awarded to each of the top two entries. Those winning posters will be auctioned at the gala and reprints of all poster entries will be available for purchase.

Ultimately, Weber says, being at the gala “engages people in a way that’s hard to do otherwise.”

“It is a celebration of the generous UB spirit that pervades our staff and faculty. We hope as many as possible will join us. The gala provides an entry, an initial way to participate in the university’s success outside of work,” he adds.

Weber points out that the UB gala offers the university community a chance to do what President Barack Obama asked of the entire country when he spoke at UB in August—to help make higher education more affordable for middle-class students.

“That message from the president is completely consistent with our university’s goals of sharing what we’ve received and in giving back,” he says.

Noting that the gala has raised more than $1.17 million since it began in 2006, Weber says he hopes the event will sell out once again, as it did in 2012, because of what that means for UB students.

He says he continues to attend the gala because “UB has been so very good to me and has been such a rewarding place to pursue my professional career. I feel I’ve been embraced by the community and the university. The gala provides me an opportunity to give something back. I hope the UB community will join me.”