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 also bestow the President's Medal, a prestigious annual award, to those whose personal and professional lives reflect the highest aspirations of Wilkes University.
Because of their extraordinary commitment and service to Wilkes University, we bestowed the 2022 President's Medal to Ruth Boorom Melberger '62 & Clifford K. Melberger.
The Melbergers' philanthropic support of Wilkes University is best illustrated in the students who have benefited from the Ruth Boorom Melberger '62 Scholarship, established in 1998. To date, more than 100 students have benefited from this scholarship, making their Wilkes education possible. The couple was inspired to give in recalling the assistance they each received as college students: Ruth at Wilkes as an art major and Cliff at Bucknell University, the institution from which Wilkes University was founded. The Melberger Courtyard near Stark Learning Center bears their name in recognition of all the ways they continue to support Wilkes students.
In 2020, the Melbergers made an extraordinary unrestricted gift as a result of the challenges faced during the global pandemic. Unrestricted gifts are unique in that they allow the University to apply the funds where they are most needed for operating expenses and other priorities.
Cliff Melberger founded Diversified Information Technologies, now EDM Americas, a national and international data and document information management company, that was headquartered in Scranton, Pa. He is also the owner, founder and chairman of the board of GreenSpace Properties LLC, a real estate management and development company. He served on the Wilkes University Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2007.
Ruth Melberger taught art for school districts in West Pittston and Harrisburg. Together, the Melbergers have served on various boards, including the West Pittston Library and YMCA of Greater Pittston. They received numerous business and community service awards, including the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Anti-Defamation League of Greater Wilkes-Barre in 2006 and the Arthritis Foundation Community Leader of the Year Award for Northeast Pennsylvania in 1998. Ruth is also involved in the Junior League of Wilkes-Barre, the Wilkes University Alumni Association and various committees in West Pittston. She serves as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The Melbergers reside in West Pittston, Pa. They have two children: Erica, married to Tom Romanowski, and Mickey, married to the former Amy Fetch. They also have six grandchildren: Thomas, Ann and Kate Romanowski and Dylan, Kari and Evan Melberger.
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.
Wilkes University established the First Generation Scholarship Fund in 2014 to provide additional funding to make a Wilkes education attainable for first-generation students. 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 freshmen 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.
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.