Skip to content

Harrisburg University (HU) of Science and Technology held its Annual Gala Celebration at the Hilton Harrisburg Saturday evening for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, attracting a sold-out audience to the event that celebrates HU students and the growth of the University.

The success of students, including seniors Rachel Skinner and Titus Bang, along with alum Angel Brown, was spotlighted at the event. The University also honored longtime HU supporters Tim Weston and Mary Webber Weston with its annual Impact Award, the highest award given at HU and a symbol of the awardees’ dedication to Harrisburg University.

The night even featured a surprise announcement as the University enters the world of cryptocurrency with the issuance of HU’s very own non-fungible tokens, which are non-interchangeable units of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded.  HU NFTs, which will be available for purchase, will spotlight some of the University’s most significant moments.

“Tonight, we celebrate our past and look to the future with ambition and purpose. At Harrisburg University, we are humbled that you have chosen to honor us with your support. We take that responsibility seriously, and we promise to be wise stewards of your resources,” HU President, Dr. Eric Darr, told 300 guests in attendance. “Tonight, is a night to reflect on HU’s history and on what’s to come. At HU, the future is now. We imagine what can be, and we make it happen.”

The Annual Gala Celebration supports the University’s Emerging Scholars Assistance Fund. Established by Board of Trustees members Sheri Phillips Lane, Carmen Finestra, and David Schankweiler, the fund provides financial support to HU’s most challenged students to meet needs beyond college tuition. Through paying for things like food, clothing, and rent, HU ensures students are not forced to choose between meeting their basic needs and leaving college.

As Harrisburg University continues to grow and leave its entrepreneurial imprint on the globe, the University’s highest priority remains, and always will be, its students, said Mark Singel, Chairman of HU’s Board of Trustees.

“It is true that the work of HU is huge. What started in Harrisburg has grown to an institution with a global impact,” Singel said. “However, as President Darr described, we have a guiding light post – our students. Harrisburg University does not, and will not, get lost in global plans without zeroing in on the individual lives we are impacting.”

Looking ahead, Dr. Darr noted that another special in-person event soon will take place. On May 12, HU will host its first in-person commencement ceremony since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. Graduates of the past three years have been invited to participate in the ceremony. Like all other challenges the University has faced, HU’s focus on students has guided the University through the challenging times of the pandemic, Dr. Darr said.

“Our students are the beacon that keeps us on course. That same beacon is the reason we weathered the COVID storm,” he said. “Later next week, we hold our 15th commencement – our first in-person commencement in three years! We are sure to hear students thanking us for guiding them toward graduation, but the truth is, it’s the other way around. Our students inspire us. They are our lighthouses and our guides. Our classes, research, and community partnerships are for them.”

To learn how you or your organization can support Harrisburg University and its Emerging Scholars Assistance Fund, please contact Ryan Riley, HU Vice President for Advancement, at or at 717-901-5140.


Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717-901-5146 or email, Follow on Twitter (@HarrisburgU) and Facebook (