Founders Gala

Benefiting the First Generation Scholarship Fund

At Wilkes University's annual premier event, the Founders Gala, we celebrate our rich heritage while supporting our mission of serving first-generation students by raising money for the First Generation Scholarship Fund.

We bestow the President's Medal, a prestigious annual award, to those whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of Wilkes University.

First awarded in 2023, the Chairperson's Award is presented to individuals who have made a positive impact upon their profession or community and in the spirit of the mission of Wilkes University.

Cocktail attire encouraged.

2024 Honorees

Harry '51 & Beverly '58 Hiscox

Recipients of The President's Medal
(From left) Harry '51 and Beverly '58 Hiscox

Harry and the late Beverly Hiscox have been part of the Wilkes University community since the 1950’s when he studied economics and she was in the education department. Harry Hiscox went on to graduate from NYU School of Law in 1953 and has practiced law for 70 years and counting. He is a founding partner of the Hiscox & Musto Law Firm.

Beverly Hiscox, affectionately known as “Bev,” served for years as a trustee of Wilkes University, eventually becoming trustee emerita. She cultivated rewarding friendships with many members of the faculty, administration and other alumni of Wilkes. Devoted fans and supporters of Wilkes athletics, the couple attended many games over the years, with a special fondness for basketball.

Read More about Harry and Beverly Hiscox

Beverly Hiscox served as president of the Wilkes University Alumni Association and was a longtime member of the advisory council for the University’s creative writing program. Ardent supporters of the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing, the couple established the Beverly Hiscox Scholarship, awarded annually to a non-traditional student who is returning to school while supporting a family.

Over the years, the Hiscox family has actively supported many organizations in northeastern Pennsylvania. With a refined taste in music, Beverly Hiscox was a volunteer with the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic since its inception in 1972, serving on the board and holding the office of president. She was also a 20-year volunteer with the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Auxiliary and a member of the board of the Wilkes-Barre YWCA.

Anthony (Tony) DaRe '00

Recipient of the Chairperson's Award
Tony DaRe '00

Anthony (Tony) DaRe graduated from Wilkes University in 2000 with a degree in business administration. He is the founder and CEO of BSI Corporate Benefits (BSI), a fiercely independent national employee benefits consulting firm with client groups ranging in size from 50-20,000 employees.

BSI is headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with additional offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Detroit, Michigan. DaRe has successfully established BSI as one of the top employee benefits consulting firms in the country, receiving awards and accolades such as Best Benefits Consulting Firm, Fastest Growing, Inc. 5000, Best Places to Work and Who’s Who in Employee Benefits. BSI’s achievements and continued growth are testaments to DaRe’s commitment and ability to continuously deliver on promises made to his clients and his team.

More about Tony DaRe

DaRe has a longstanding history of community leadership and philanthropy. As a dedicated community leader, he actively leads local councils, boards and government and health committees, serving as an expert employee benefits consultant and volunteer. In 2020, DaRe was named the Lehigh Valley Community Service Person of the Year and was honored as one of the 20 Power Players in the Lehigh Valley for helping to shape the community and influence the quality of life throughout the region. For the past four years, DaRe has been recognized as a Power 100 for his continuous role in helping shape the community throughout the region. In 2023, DaRe was identified as a Greater Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, based on his demonstration of bringing long term value through his entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact. Currently, he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus and KidsPeace Foundation. In addition, DaRe and his wife, Adrienne, serve as the campaign co-chairs for the United Way of Lehigh Valley.

In 2022, the couple pledged $1 million to St. Luke’s University Health Network to help fund the construction of the Women and Babies Tower at St. Luke’s Allentown campus and establish a scholarship endowment for students at Temple/St. Luke’s Medical School.

DaRe is a long-time supporter of Wilkes athletics and the First Generation Scholarship Fund. BSI has been the tournament sponsor for the Ralston Memorial Golf Tournament since its inception in 2018. As a former Colonels linebacker, DaRe took special pride in leading the charge to raise funds for a new football locker room.

Tony and Adrienne DaRe live with their three children in Easton, Pennsylvania.

2024 Sponsors

  • Black Horse Foundation, Inc./Ronald Simms '60 & Rhea Politis Simms '78
  • Aramark
  • Joanne Schreibmaier Schoonover '72
  • Anonymous
  • BSI Corporate Benefits/Tony DaRe '00
  • Ray Dombroski '78 & Colleen DeMorat
  • Geisinger
  • William Miller '81 & Talbot Logan
  • PNC Bank
  • Power Engineering Corporation
  • Benco Family Foundation
  • Fellerman & Ciarimboli Law PC
  • Green Valley Landscaping
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • William Raub '61 & Joyce Raub
  • Matthew Sordoni
  • The Sordoni Family Foundation
  • UGI Utilities
  • Carol Gusgekofski Besler '76 & Philip Besler '76
  • DiscoverNEPA
  • Endler Architecture & Collaboration
  • Harry Hiscox '51
  • John Kerr '72 & Renate Dargel Kerr '72
  • Panzitta Enterprises, Inc.
  • Peoples Security Bank & Trust
  • Robert L. Zeglarski '69 & Donna-Su Brown Zeglarski '70
  • A. Pickett Construction, Inc.
  • Baker Tilly
  • Benecon
  • Edward Burke '70, MS '73 & Nancy Burke
  • Betty DeCosmo Dean '81, '82, MBA '85 & Barry Dean
  • Fahmy Hudome International/Randa Fahmy '86
  • Hazleton Eye Specialists (Dr. Thomas Kislan '92 & Dr. Sandra Krokos-Kislan '92) and Nanticoke Eye Specialists (Dr. Cynthia Charnetski '97)
  • Theresa Karambelas
  • Ben Franklin Trust Fund of The Luzerne Foundation
  • Mac Signs
  • Heather McRay
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Thomas N. Ralston '80
  • St. Luke's University Health Network

About the Founders Gala


The Founders Gala is Wilkes University's annual premier event. Since 2014, Wilkes University has celebrated our heritage while supporting our mission of serving first-generation students by raising money for the First Generation Scholarship Fund.

Wilkes also honors its annual recipients of the prestigious President's Medal at the gala.

History of the Gala

The First Generation Scholarship Fund

Wilkes University established the First Generation Scholarship Fund in 2014 to provide support for tuition, fees, textbooks and course materials for students who are the first in their family to attend a college or university.

The founders of Wilkes University recognized that helping young people attend college benefited the individual even as it strengthened the region, and they wove that into the fabric of the institution. Even after all these years, over half of our incoming first year students still identify themselves as the first generation of their family to attend a four-year institution of higher learning. Wilkes University continues to play a vital role in opening opportunities that lead to success.

Gala Awards

The President's Medal

The President’s Medal is bestowed annually on individuals whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of Wilkes University. First awarded in 2014, the medal is presented to deserving individuals at the annual Founders Gala celebration.

The Chairperson's Award

The Chairperson's Award is presented to individuals who have made a positive impact upon their profession or community and in the spirit of the mission of Wilkes University. First awarded in 2023, recipients serve as an inspiration to Wilkes students and bring honor and pride to the University.

More About the Gala Awards


For more information about sponsorship and participation opportunities, please contact Lisa Shafer '01, Director of Development, at

Accommodations Statement

Wilkes University is an equal opportunity institution. For more information, please consult our nondiscrimination policy statement.

Patrons requesting accommodations or services at Wilkes University or university-sponsored events in accordance with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III: Public Accommodations are asked to contact University Events.

It is recommended that requests be made at least five (5) business days prior to any event.