ETEC Hosts Record-Setting Celebration of Students and Scholarships

Lew Wiener, Semi Awopetu and Jill Delaney
Lew Wiener ’84, scholarship recipient Semi Awopetu ’22 and UAlbany Alumni Association President Jill Delaney ’96 at the 2022 Celebration of Scholarships event..

In March, within ETEC's soaring atrium, the annual Celebration of Scholarships event welcomed nearly 200 guests — its largest attendance ever — to recognize the impact of UAlbany scholarships and the students who receive them. 

Joining honored donors, University faculty, staff and administrators were 50 scholarship recipients, like Semi Awopetu ’22, a senior finance major, who shared how scholarships helped him achieve his academic goals. 

"This scholarship isn't just about me. It's about the Great Danes for generations to come," said the Staten Island native. "I want [my fellow students] to know that there are people, like yourselves, doing their part, who are wholeheartedly willing to assist us in our educational endeavors so that we, too, can chase our ambitions and fulfill our wildest imaginations." 

In 2021-22, the University at Albany Foundation (UAF) awarded more than $3.7 million in scholarships and other meaningful forms of assistance, in addition to $3.4 million in support of faculty, research and the campus.   

"We are proud to have increased funding that sustains UAlbany’s place among the nation’s leading public research universities," said Fardin Sanai, UAlbany's vice president for University Advancement. "Witnessing first-hand how donor generosity propels our students reminds us all why we are here."  

Alongside Alumni Association President Jill Delaney '96, UAF board member Lew Wiener ’84 delivered an inspirational speech for the students.  

"The education I received here changed my life. Never let the obstacles define you," said Wiener to the rapt audience. "How are you going to define yourself? Help others. Pay it forward — if, for no other reason, it feels damn good. I hope it makes a difference to you. Those are things that make a difference to me." 

The Celebration of Scholarships dinner is the culmination of a year-long program that fosters connections between students and donors. Over the last decade, the Division of University Advancement, responsible for all fundraising and stewardship activities, has hosted receptions, Zoom meetings and dinners to bring donors together with the students who benefit from their generosity.   

With the establishment of more than 665 endowed funds, donor support advances UAlbany’s mission to ensure access and provide life-changing education to its students.