Gala Aims To Celebrate New Paltz

The ninth annual Gala at SUNY New Pltz will be at Mohonk Mountain House.
The ninth annual Gala at SUNY New Pltz will be at Mohonk Mountain House.

The ninth annual Gala at SUNY New Paltz will recognize three individuals for their continued commitment to Hudson Valley-based volunteering.

This year, the college will honor Jeffrey and Joanne Fredenberg of Hurley, N.Y. and Barbara Scherr of Newburgh, N.Y.

All three recipients have extensive backgrounds in the world of volunteering. The honorees were selected from a committee that meets earlier on in the year.

“This year’s honorees were chosen as individuals who generously give of their time and leadership skills both in their local community and to the college,” said  Foundation Director of Development and Alumni Relations Sally Cross. “Each year the committee receives suggestions and it is the committee who selects the honorees.”

Each year the proceeds of the Gala support an on-going endowment fund. President Donald Christian said that the endowment has collected $450,000 to go towards scholarships for students with strong academic backgrounds.

“It’s also a way of encouraging people who may not have donated to the college in the past to learn about the college,” said Christian.

This year’s recipient of the scholarship is Thomas Plitsch, a second-year secondary education major with a focus in mathematics. His future career aspiration is to either become a high school or secondary math teacher.

“I was born and raised here, and graduated from New Paltz High School in 2010. When I left for school to attend Siena College in the fall of 2010, it just didn’t feel the same as New Paltz, so in the fall of 2011 I transferred back to continue my undergraduate degree,” said Plitsch. “At Siena, I had a 3.93 grade-point average and I think that hard work reflects that grade and was also another reason why I was chosen for this award.”

Meanwhile, the three individuals recognized at this year’s Gala each have an active background in the Hudson Valley community.

Barbara Scherr established an organization in the Hudson Valley for children who are experiencing a crisis called CUB’s Place. The foundation was founded in memory of her late husband, Harry Scherr. The organization now has five locations including Vassar Brothers Medical Center and St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.

Scherr was also a founding board member of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz.

Currently, she serves on the boards for the Museum of the Hudson Highlands, Temple Beth Jacob, SUNY New Paltz Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy for New York State and the New York City region and Orange
County (Inspire).

Meanwhile, both Fredenbergs grew up with families active in the community. Their families held leadership roles in various non-profit organizations.

Currently, Jeffery Fredenberg serves on several boards. These boards include the SUNY New Paltz School of Business, Business Advisory Council, the Center for Spectrum Services, Gateway Community Industries and the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is also a member of the Ulster County, New Paltz Regional and Middletown Chambers of Commerce.

Joanne Fredenberg is past-chair and current board member of the Kingston Hospital Foundation. She chairs the Gift Shop, the 2012 Tulip Ball and the Autumn Garden Party Committees for Kingston Hospital and the American Cancer Society, Ulster County Council. She also chairs the Board of The Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation at New Paltz.

To continue with tradition, the Gala will take place on Nov. 20, the Sunday before Thanksgiving weekend at Mohonk Mountain House.