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Brady Butler, Director
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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s first female lieutenant governor helped La Roche College mark its 40th anniversary at the eighth annual Presidential Scholarship Dinner, held at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh on October 9. Hosted by the La Roche College Board of Regents, the fundraising event also paid tribute to the vision and stewardship of La Roche’s founding Congregation, the Sisters of Divine Providence.

“(The Sisters) saw a college that could specialize in getting young people ready to make a living and prepare them to live example-setting, leadership-filled lives,” said Catherine Baker Knoll, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and the evening’s keynote speaker. “(The Sisters) saw a college that wasn’t just a neighborhood campus in Pittsburgh, but one that would attract students from all over the world – reflecting the reality that advances in technology and travel have made all of us neighbors.”

A western Pennsylvania native and former student of the Sisters of Divine Providence, Knoll pointed to the challenges faced by leaders in Pennsylvania, including the recent economic recession and the residual effects of the September 11th terrorist attacks. She said she becomes frustrated when public officials delay the search for tangible solutions in the name of expediency.

“What strengthens us in all of these challenges is a foundation of values, the kind of values the Sisters of Divine Providence saw when they planted the roots of this college,” said Knoll. “They didn’t say, ‘This is a good idea, but the timing isn’t right.’ Instead, they saw the value of time – that it is there to seize, to act, to achieve. Postponement is the father of failure.”

To officially recognize the Sisters’ contributions to the La Roche community, Patrick Branch, chair of the Board of Regents, presented a commemorative plaque to Sr. Mary Joan Coultas, provincial director of the Congregation of Divine Providence. More than 200 guests attended, including members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, benefactors and friends of La Roche College. Many guests placed bids on more than 80 items at a silent auction, which included everything from furniture, jewelry and collectibles to entertainment packages.

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