A crowd of 800 Youngstown State fans, student-athletes and coaches turned out at Mr. Anthony's in Boardman on Sunday evening at the 22nd Annual Scholarship/Ring Dinner to honor Dennis and Janet Haines, the 2012 Penguins of the Year.
The evening provides a great chance for YSU fans and members of the community to interact with Penguins' student-athletes. Also, all raised funds go directly to supporting athletic scholarships.
The event featured speeches by Youngstown State University President Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Penguin Club President Guenther Hladiuk, women's basketball senior Macey Nortey, men's basketball senior Ashen Ward and Penguins of the Year Dennis and Janet Haines. Master of Ceremonies Robb Schmidt kept the event fast-paced with his wit, and everyone was entertained throughout the evening.
Dr. Anderson touched on the importance of student-athletes and the experience they have living on campus. She said that an impressive 94 percent of student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility graduate from Youngstown State. She thanked Dennis and Janet Haines for their commitment to YSU Athletics and the university and congratulated them on being named Penguins of the Year.
Hladiuk mentioned the fact that there are nearly 700 Penguin Club members and his hope is to have over 1,000 at some point. Also, he said that of YSU's nearly 350 student-athletes, at least three quarters receive some kind of athletic aide from the Penguin Club.
Schmidt and Men's Basketball Coach Jerry Slocum followed with a brief Q&A session. The two talked about the upcoming home games against Wright State (Thursday) and Detroit (Saturday) as the Penguins make a push to host a first-round home game at the Beeghly Center. Slocum said he has been most impressed with the way his team has followed tough losses with bounce-back victories.
Nortey, a Los Angeles, Calif., native, took to the podium and said her four years at Youngstown State are something she will never forget. She has appreciated all the opportunities and the experiences that have come her way and how the community embraced her upon her arrival from across the country.
Ward, a Cleveland native, told the audience that he is a better person for coming to Youngstown State and appreciated the fact that the men's basketball coaching staff gave him the chance to play college basketball four years ago. He said he has valued his education at Youngstown State and wants to help children as a teacher and mentor when he graduates within the next year.
To conclude the event, the honored guests, Dennis and Janet Haines took to the podium. Dennis talked about Jan's love for athletics and said she is a Horizon League fanatic who watches games on the Internet all the time. He spoke about his memories of YSU athletics, including the 1991 National Championship victory and memorable trips to The Citadel in 1992 and Reno, Nev., in 1991. He said they are looking forward to attending more championship events in the near future for all YSU sports.
The next Penguin Club fundraising event is the Scholarship Golf Outing which will be held June 13 at Oak Tree Country Club in West Middlesex, Pa. For information contact Tom Morella at (330) 941-2351 or firstname.lastname@example.org