21st Annual Discovery Dinner Raises Over Half a Million Dollars to Fund Scholarships

News Story: April 1, 2010

Discovery Dinner Raises Over Half a Million Dollars to Fund Scholarships for Fairfield County Students

At the Discovery Dinner, SHU students are pictured here with, front row from left, SHU Trustees and Event Co-chairs Nancy Lambert, Bill Mitchell, Linda McMahon and Vice President for Institutional Advancement Mary Young.

Two titans of cable television business news and a locally influential religious leader were honored Wednesday at Sacred Heart University’s 21st Annual Discovery Awards and Scholarship Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich.

CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, the host of The Kudlow Report and a respected analyst of the economic climate; Charles Gasparino, a senior correspondent for Fox Business Network and a best-selling business writer; and Monsignor Kevin Wallin, the pastor of Bridgeport’s Cathedral Parish of St. Augustine and a long-serving member of the Sacred Heart University Board of Trustees, were recognized as distinguished members of the community with the Sacred Heart University Discovery Award.

The gala honors notable individuals while raising funds for SHU’s Discovery Scholar Grants program, which provides a tuition-free education to low-income students in Fairfield County. The Discovery Scholar Grants, established in 2008, allow Sacred Heart University to make financial assistance available to students who reside within Fairfield County and have an annual family income at or below $50,000. The plan provides each qualified student with 100 percent tuition coverage.

CBS News' "The Early Show" Weatherman and Feature Reporter Dave Price, left, was the master of ceremonies.

Making his eighth consecutive appearance as the Master of Ceremonies was CBS News’ “The Early Show” Weatherman Dave Price, who offered a sunny forecast for the Discovery Scholar Grants as a result of the $550,000 raised at the dinner. In its 21-year history, the Discovery Dinner has raised millions of dollars to provide financial assistance to deserving students.

“Because of what we do here tonight, a new generation of leaders will share the advantage of an extraordinary education in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Every participant in our special scholarship appeal gets to shape the future and help transform the lives of students with intelligence and drive who might be excluded from the dream of a college education without your assistance,” Price told the audience.

Price’s sentiments were echoed by current students Kelly Leather, a junior and vice president of the Student Body, and Senior Taariq Cayne, and alumnus Michael Pascuma, who spoke about what Sacred Heart University has meant to them.

From left are honorees Monsignor Kevin Wallin, Charles Gasparino, Fox Business News senior correspondent, and Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC's "The Kudlow Report." 

“Your contributions are not just going to another university that provides an exceptional education with some prestigious name and accreditation to flaunt around on a resume, but to an exceptional school that truly cares about its students; a school where professors and staff are always willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed at attaining their goals and a university with strong morals and an incredible support system,” said Pascuma, who graduated in 2003 with a degree that reflected his dual major in Finance and Business and a minor in Accounting.

That system he spoke of goes beyond financial assistance Pascuma said.

Pascuma talked about the support he got from the University community and President Anthony J. Cernera after his father, Michael J. Pascuma Jr., was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. “I will never be able to fully express in words my appreciation and gratitude for what Sacred Heart did for me during that time in my life, but I can say that even before 9-11, I knew what kind of a place Sacred Heart was,” said Pascuma, who works for Nomura International in a trading role helping to build the company’s Credit Franchise.

The audience was also treated to a performance of “The Prayer,” sung by junior Allegra DeVita, of Trumbull.

Serving as co-chairs of the event were SHU Trustees Mark Freitas (Greenwich), Nancy Lambert (Westport), Linda McMahon (Greenwich), and Bill Mitchell (Westport).

To watch video coverage of the event, click here.  For a photo slideshow, click here.