The Vandervort Room will be transformed into a casino floor for the annual Casino Night fundraising reception hosted by the Geneva Scholarship Associates (GSA). Members of the Geneva and HWS communities will partake in an evening of gaming to support the organization in providing endowed scholarships on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Prizes this year will include gift certificates to Mirbeau, Belhurst, and Geva Theatre – as well as tickets to assorted sporting events.
As the GSA welcomes another group of recipients this academic year, the organization is also excited to invite donors, family and friends to the popular event. GSA President Sarah Wethey Heieck ’97 is enthusiastic that this will be one of the best Casino Nights yet. “There will fun people, great food and lots of amazing prizes – and all to support local students!”
For several years now, Casino Night has helped raise funds for the organization, which celebrates 43 years of service in the Geneva community. “Many high school seniors want to stay close to home after graduation and some have been dreaming of going to HWS since they were little kids,” says Heieck. “We are so lucky to have HWS as an option but cost sometimes is a factor. GSA can help in those situations.”
Heieck, who has served on the Board of the GSA for the past year, is excited to step into her new role as GSA President. She also has the unique advantage of being a GSA recipient herself. “I loved attending HWS and am committed to our community; being a GSA scholar just makes me more connected to the cause,” explains Heieck. “I believe in helping local students. I know what it is like to want to get an amazing education and simply not have the finances to do that.”
Heieck transferred to the Colleges as a sophomore, shortly after the death of her mother – only two years after losing her father. “The college I was attending couldn’t give me enough financial aid to go back. Hobart and William Smith was one of my top choices when first applying to schools, and my gut was telling me to reapply,” says Heieck. “At the recipient reception, a board member, who was also a friend of my parents, spoke about me. I also had a chance to speak to one of the deans, who knew my mother; I realized HWS and the Geneva community were one in the same. It stuck with me. I feel fortunate to have attended HWS and love the idea of being able to help others who want to go here.”
Other members of the GSA Board include previous GSA scholars, parents of alums, community members and members of the HWS faculty. Associate Professor of Sociology Renee Monson is committed to the mission of the GSA, and hopes to help these promising students thrive at the Colleges.
“Over the years, I have had several students from Geneva in my classes and they have been bright, motivated, interesting young people who have made tremendous contributions to my classroom and to the Colleges,” says Monson, who jumped at the opportunity to help foster the connection between the Geneva and HWS communities.
“Supporting the GSA is an opportunity for me to give back — to liberal arts education and to the city I now call home,” explains Monson, a recipient of financial aid as an undergraduate. “It’s an honor to have been asked to serve on the GSA Board alongside so many dedicated leaders in the Geneva community.”