college students

Stockton College Scholarship Benefit Gala Raises $475,000 for Students

Over 550 guests helped raise more than $475,000 at the 34th Annual Stockton College Benefit Scholarship Gala held at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club on Saturday, April 26.

“You Make the Difference,” a fundraising campaign that continues through June 30, has raised over $23 million for facilities, academic programs, scholarships and other operations. Of that total, $10.1 million will be dedicated to scholarships, said Stockton President Herman Saatkamp.

“Scholarships for Stockton’s distinctive students are so important,” said President Saatkamp. “There are thousands of students at Stockton who are talented and impressive. They all count on us to DO MORE.”

“At the Gala in 2012, I announced that through the collective generosity of many we surpassed our $20 million comprehensive campaign goal two years ahead of schedule,” President Saatkamp continued. “At that time, I also announced a ‘Let’s Do More!’ stretch goal to raise an additional $2 million – or more – for scholarships by the completion of the comprehensive campaign in June 2014.

Gala proceeds from the past two years have helped the Stockton College Foundation raise nearly $2.3 million for scholarships, exceeding President Saatkamp’s “Let’s Do More’ challenge.

“Thank you for helping us to reach that remarkable stretch goal!” President Saatkamp said.

President Saatkamp and his wife, Dorothy, known to all as “Dot,” were honored by the Stockton Board of Trustees with the establishment of the Herman and Dorothy Saatkamp Endowed Scholarship. The trustees have committed $50,000 toward the scholarship, which will also receive net proceeds from the Gala, along with direct gifts and pledges.

In addition, $500,000 to be generated by Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club and Stockton Affiliated Services, Inc. (SASI) over the next five years will be directed to the Saatkamp scholarship.

Curtis Bashaw, chair of the board of trustees, explained: “This evening we have the privilege of honoring Herman & Dot Saatkamp. …The college has thrived under their leadership and now enjoys a wonderful reputation regionally, statewide, nationally, and even internationally.”

He noted that “the creation of Stockton Affiliated Services, Inc. (SASI) and the purchase of Seaview Resort and Golf Club are two important examples of the president’s vision and boldness. When Herman first approached the Board of Trustees with these ideas, he introduced them with a vision that each would be an alternative source of income for the college that one day would be able to provide resources for student scholarships.

“Tonight, I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Saatkamp’s vision can now be realized.  The combined efforts of SASI and the Stockton-Seaview will make contributions to the Herman and Dorothy Saatkamp Endowed Scholarship over the next five years.  And we anticipate that these contributions will total $500,000!”

President and Mrs. Saatkamp’s 50th wedding anniversary and their lifelong commitment to education also were celebrated at the Gala. President Saatkamp is in his 45th year in higher education, while Mrs. Saatkamp taught in various settings for 39 years.

“Dot and I are really honored to have a scholarship named after us,” said President Saatkamp. “The most important things in life are family and friends – so your being here tonight is extremely important to us.”

Stockton Seaview, the region’s premier hotel and golf resort, was honored on its 100th anniversary year.

Seaview, which will again host world-class women golfers at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer from May 26-June 1, is steeped in history. The hotel has hosted Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Warren G. Harding, stars including Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Mick Jagger, and legendary golfers such as Ben Hogan.

Seaview’s historic fire bell, used on the property in the early years, was restored and rung to call guests into dinner at the Gala.

Dolce Hotels and Resorts, which operates Stockton Seaview, pledged $125,000 over the next five years to establish a new scholarship for students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

“Our company is very pleased to be a part of this historic evening and thrilled to be sharing the 100th anniversary by also celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of Dr. and Mrs. Saatkamp,” said Andy Dolce, founder of Dolce Hotels & Resorts, which operates 26 properties throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“It was Dr. Saatkamp’s vision that resulted in Stockton’s purchase of Seaview and it is fitting that we gather tonight in their honor,” Dolce said.

Student scholarship recipients, and donors such as Dr. Jo Frances Stow of Atlantic City, were also acknowledged and applauded.

Robert L. Sistler, Jr., a 46-year-old from Upper Township, said he “felt blessed” to receive the Col. Kenneth R. Stow Memorial Scholarship from Dr. Stow, along with the Presidential Scholarship and one from the Follett Higher Education Group, which manages Stockton’s bookstore. He said he could not work full-time to support his family while going to school full- time, and the G.I. Bill only covers so much.

Sistler served in the Army’s Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns and in Bosnia, and wants to work with military families as a career. He is graduating in May with a degree in social work.

“Don’t Call Me Francis,” a popular Philadelphia-South Jersey band, provided dance music after dinner and the Stockton Chamber Players performed earlier in the evening.

During the silent auction, chaired by Lisa Johnson, of Lisa Johnson Communications, guests enjoyed cocktails, wine and hors d’oeuvres.

“Stockton continues to expand its programs and outreach to so many students in the area, and we at the Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association are so proud to support the college,” said John Schultz, president of the MBCA of Atlantic City and a member of the Stockton Foundation board.

William Burris, of Burris Construction Company of Moorestown, NJ, said he and his wife have been coming to the Gala for several years and are impressed with “such wonderful leadership by President Saatkamp. He’s created significant awareness of this school and all the programs and community partnerships they are doing.”

Dr. Philip T. Ellmore, chief development officer and executive director of the Stockton College Foundation, noted that students from the “Events Management and Catering” course in Stockton’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program were among the many volunteers at the Gala.

The event’s top sponsors included: the Chairs’ Circle – Avalon Flooring; Dolce Hotels & Resorts; IBEW Local 351; Summa Cum Laude – The Azeez Foundation; the Cooper Levenson law firm; Dr. Howard and Gayle Gross and Horizon Eye Care; Magna Cum Laude – AtlantiCare; the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa; Chartwells; Follett Higher Education Group; Kramer Beverage Company & and the Kramer Family Foundation; Marathon Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc., Dr. Jo Frances Stow; Mady Deininger and Joel Peterson, and Dean and Zoe Pappas.