ATLANTIC CITY — The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey had a lot to celebrate at this year’s scholarship gala.
“You Make the Difference: The Campaign for Stockton College” exceeded its $20 million goal — with two years to spare.
“It’s really remarkable,” President Herman Saatkamp said before the big announcement Saturday. “It’s very rare for an institution to reach its goal ahead of schedule.”
Especially, he noted, at a time when the economy is poor.
“I’ve been in higher education for 43 years, and there has never been another time when student need was so high,” Saatkamp said.
All of the money goes toward scholarships for students, who know the true meaning of “You Make a Difference.”
“It makes the difference between me living at home and me living on campus,” said Arielle Gaudiello, 21, a junior from Galloway. “If I was living at home, I would be commuting all the time and not able to be as active.”
But on campus, she has gotten involved in Circle K, an international group that focuses on community service. As president, she has logged 250 hours of community service this year.
Her vice president — Samantha Anderson, 21, of Blairstown, Warren County — has accumulated more than 200 hours.
“Getting a scholarship for tuition helped me make my decision to come to Stockton,” said Anderson, a junior majoring in environmental studies.
Despite getting help, Anderson and Gaudiello also work while going to school. Gaudiello at the Atlantic County Humane Society and Anderson at Stockton as part of another program that meshes with her major.
The Campaign for Stockton College was announced in September, when Stockton kicked off its 40th Anniversary of Teaching. The goal: Collect $20 million by June 20, 2014.
But as of Saturday’s gala, the college had collected $20.4 million.
The college isn’t done though.
“As excited and grateful as we are to exceed our goal, we aim to keep the momentum going into the months ahead,” said Dr. Philip Ellmore, chief development officer. “The need for scholarship funding has not abated.”
The goal now is to have at least $2 million more by the original deadline, Saatkamp said.
Even in celebration, the money continued to come in. More than 650 people attended the gala at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, raising more than $450,000.
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