On July 17th 2022, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Wentcher Foundation at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This celebration, sponsored by Fiducent, brought together a community of scholars, alumni, friends, family, and volunteers of the Wentcher Foundation in the Hyatt Regency’s Crystal Ballroom in support of the Foundation’s achievements. This year the Wentcher Foundation reached several milestones including launching its 21st class of Wentcher Scholars, reaching $20 Million of scholarship dollars, awarding the 1,000th Wentcher scholarship, and celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the incorporation of the Wentcher Foundation.
Leading up to the celebration, members of the Wentcher community were interviewed by WGN Daytime News to talk about the Foundation’s several accomplishments. Interviewees included Executive Director and President of the Board Brian Fitzpatrick and Alumna Toccara Castleman. In the interview, Toccara Castleman, who is a member of the first class of Wentcher Scholars, talks about the positive impact the Foundation made on her life. Toccara attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and afterwards moved to New York to pursue a career as a playwright. After some time in New York, she won an Emmy Award for her work on the USA Network television series Mr. Robot. Toccara currently works at the prestigious Goodman Theater here in Chicago. You can read more about Toccarra’s journey here, and can watch the WGN interview here.
Attendees of the ceremony took fun photos at the photo booth, met members of their cohorts and staff, and fellowshipped with other members of the community. Attendees also celebrated and honored the Wentcher Foundation’s newest class of scholars. In addition to an introduction to our class of new scholars, the ceremony’s program featured speeches from Board Members and Alumni, and refreshments. One alumna in particular, Crystal Stonewall, gave a touching speech on how the Foundation gave her an opportunity to pursue a quality education at the University of Wisconsin Madison. After finishing her undergraduate career, Crystal received an opportunity to pursue a law degree at UW Madison and work as legal counsel on their campus. You can learn more about Crystal through her interview on the Wentcher blog here. Additionally, Brian Fitzpatrick was awarded a gift to commemorate his time at the Foundation as well as his dedication to carrying out Ernie Wentcher’s legacy. For the past 25 years, Brian has served students of the Chicagoland area by helping to give them equal access to higher education. You can learn more about Brian and his time at the foundation in his interview for the Wentcher Foundation Blog.
For those interested in getting more of a feel for the atmosphere of the celebration you can watch a recap on our Vimeo account here and look at photos here.