Wentcher 25th Anniversary Update

On May 31st and June 14th, Taste Media Group sat down with various members of the Wentcher community and began production on an exciting video that will be debuting at our upcoming 25th Anniversary celebration. The event will take place on Sunday, July 17th at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago where attendees will hear from guest speakers, receive a book about our founder Ernie Wentcher, and welcome our largest class of new scholars. In this brief video viewers are offered an opportunity to learn about milestones achieved by both our Wentcher Scholars and the Foundation through multiple interviews. 


Among our interviewees were Brian Fitzpatrick, current Executive Director of the Foundation and long-time friend of Ernie Wentcher. In this interview, Brian shares Ernie’s initial goals and aspirations when they embarked on the journey to create the Wentcher Foundation. He also shares what it takes to become a Wentcher Scholar. This past March, we sat down with Brian to talk more about his relationship with Ernie, what the 25th Anniversary means for the Foundation and its success, and lastly, what he’s hoping to accomplish in the years to come. You can read more in depth in his spotlight here.


Not only does this video feature the Executive Director of the Foundation, the video also features the Foundation’s newest Board Members Laura Farr and Robert Slay. As distinguished individuals, and also Alumni of the Wentcher Foundation, Laura and Robert were asked to become members of the Board of Directors in 2020. With Laura graduating in 2006 and Robert graduating in 2013, they both bring a fresh perspective to the Board that the foundation is very grateful for! In the video both Laura and Robert heartfelt share tales of applying to college and funding, what it meant to receive the Wentcher scholarship, and meeting Ernie. Outside of being board members Laura is currently the Director of State and Local relations at Northwestern University, and Robert works as an Internal Auditor for Google. You can read more about Robert in his spotlight here.


Like our Board Member Laura Farr who graduated in 2006, Dr. Palak Desai is a member of the first class of Wentcher Scholars that was also interviewed. In this video, Dr. Desai talks about how his college experience was enhanced through receiving the Wentcher scholarship, becoming a hematologist oncologist that helps cancer patients, and also how he has enjoyed keeping in touch with the Foundation since becoming an alumnus. You can read more about Dr. Desai’s work in his spotlight here.


Representing our most current group of scholars, the video features Jidapa Thia, who is a recent alumna of the class of 2021. In this video, Jidapa talks about her experience and the special support she received as a Wentcher Oakton Community College Scholar. We also hear from Jidapa’s younger sister, Teerada Thia. In this video Teerada talks about being encouraged by her sister to apply to the Wentcher Scholarship, and also becoming a Wentcher Oakton Community College Scholar.

If you are part of the Wentcher Community and would like to RSVP to the event or make a donation to the Foundation, please do so here.

Picture of Author: Nia Harris

Author: Nia Harris

Nia Harris is a NYU graduate and Fulbright Scholar working for the Wentcher Foundation as the Program Associate.

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