My Fifth Year
A Column by Rebecca Harshbarger
November arrived, and the rush of preparing for events kicked into full gear. The month started with two major events during the first week: Student Benefactor Dinner and Speaker Series.
It was the fifth year for the Student Benefactor event, and both the students and benefactors seemed thrilled to have the opportunity to interact and socialize. Without this unique occasion, the students and benefactors may not have the chance to match a name with a face and personality. Both speakers for the evening were inspirational, and reminded the audience to stay strong in times of turmoil and trouble.
Edith Hertzog, benefactor of the March Forth Trustee Scholarship, promoted her “March On” philosophy, inspired by the ability to look forward to the future after her experience with cancer. Nursing student Chelsea Laret, recipient of the Ralph McKibbin Family Trustee Scholarship in nursing, spoke about her trying times as a student and how financial assistance is helping her turn her dream of being a nurse into a reality.
My team certainly could have pitched a tent at the Blair County Convention Center, site for the Student Benefactor Dinner and Speaker Series event on back-to-back days. I was so excited to meet our featured speaker Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Of course, one never knows how a celebrity will act and what he or she will say. She cordially greeted me and my colleagues at the door with “Hi, I’m Ina.” She was very down to earth, yet elegant. I was given the opportunity to assist with the book signing before the event.
The evening started with a VIP reception where Ina very graciously took pictures with corporate sponsors. Sue Woodring and Ina Garten were relaxed on stage as they talked about Ina’s experiences, both professional and personal. The Q&A from the audience was very interesting, and a lot of the questions related to food and recipe issues.
I have been planning the first Corporate Stewardship Luncheon, which is a way of showing our appreciation to local corporations for their philanthropic support of Penn State Altoona and for hiring our graduates. Our first luncheon will be held at Delta Health Technologies in Altoona. I continue to love the projects I work on, and am looking forward to the months ahead.