Bart Starr, a legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback, will deliver the keynote address at a scholarship dinner benefit at UW-River Falls April 19.
Director of University Advancement Chris Mueller said bringing in Starr helps to raise the level of institutional pride and awareness for the University.
“An event like this can elevate the University,” Mueller said. “We’re bringing in a household name, someone who is well-known and very thoughtful.”
Mueller said Starr was the right fit to bring in to speak because of the football tradition in the area, and that many alumni who will be attending the event will remember watching Starr lead the Packers to the first two Super Bowl titles in 1967 and 1968.
While the event has numerous sponsors donating to the event, a limited number of tickets will be available to students March 6 and 7. The first 100 students can purchase up to two tickets for $10/each with a valid student ID and with cash only. These tickets buy admission into the program where Starr will speak. Tickets for sponsorship have been sold out and those still interested will be placed on a waiting list.
Platinum sponsors, the top level of sponsorship, will have paid $20,000 for eight dinner tickets that include a private dinner with Starr, attendance to the program, photo passes and a dessert reception and recognition on website and event signage.
All scholarship proceeds benefit the Falcon Scholars program, unless otherwise designated by the sponsor. Chancellor Dean Van Galen said in the event brochure that sponsoring a scholarship is a great way to give back to UWRF.
“In these times, nothing is more critical to a university than providing scholarship support for deserving students. There may be no better way to support students and UW-River Falls than to sponsor a scholarship,” Van Galen said.
UWRF student Carrie Weichman has seen the direct impact of the Falcon Scholars scholarship program. Weichman was part of the inaugural class of scholars.
“Being a Falcon Scholar opened up so many great opportunities for me. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people and I even got to interview candidates for next year’s class of Falcon Scholars,” Weichman said. “I’m also really excited about the opportunity to study abroad or do undergraduate research my junior or senior year. I’m thinking about going to Italy.”
According to the UWRF website, “Beginning with the entering class in fall 2012, 80 freshman students each year will be selected as Falcon Scholars to receive a renewable four-year, $1,000 per year scholarship. In addition, each Falcon Scholar will be provided with $2,000 in their junior or senior year to study abroad or engage in undergraduate research. The funds for the study abroad or research experience are provided through student differential tuition funds, part of the Falcon Promise program approved by students in 2011. When fully funded in 2015, the University will support 320 Falcon Scholars requiring $320,000 per year in private support.”
Since the first fundraising campaign began for the Falcon Scholars program during the Rising to Distinction campaign, the program has raised over $600,000 to support the Falcon Scholars program alone.
Starr comes to UWRF for the second scholarship benefit dinner sponsored by the UWRF Foundation and University Advancement. During the first scholarship dinner, the event earned over $180,000.
This event may exceed these expectations as tickets for sponsors are already sold out as are the 249 tickets that were sold to the general public for $45/seat. The student tickets remain the only ones available as of now, but Mueller said people can be placed on a waiting list in the event the student tickets are not sold. Mueller said the amount of tickets was determined by the capacity of Abbott Concert Hall in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building that can hold around 400 people.
However, Mueller said that while some people may not be able to attend this event, the plan for the Foundation will be to start building an event like this into an annual tradition.
“We’re planning on bringing in entertainers, newsmakers, and more that will allow us to reach a different and diverse audience each time,” Mueller said.
He added that UWRF got the idea for a speaker to highlight a benefit dinner from a university in Tennessee that has been holding a similar event for 47 years.