Penn State Scranton music program receives grant from Schwartz Mack Foundation

Dr. Wafa presents Schwartz Mack group with Nittany Lion statue

Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa, seated at left, presents a Nittany Lion statue to Schwartz Mack Foundation board member Dick Eckersley. Standing, from left, are: Penn State Scranton Director of Development Christine Ostroski; campus advisory board member and Schwartz Mack Foundation member Rick Bishop; Schwartz Mack Foundation member Mark Silversberg, campus Music Program Director and Assistant Teaching Professor in Music Sharon Ann Toman; and David Nicoteri's mother and sister, Administrative Support Assistant Michelle Nicoteri and Samantha Nicoteri.

Credit: Amy Gruzesky

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton’s music program recently received another big financial boost from the Schwartz Mack Foundation.

The foundation awarded a $7,500 grant to the program. The funds can be used for programming and other needs over the next year, and a portion has already been used for the music program’s Spring 2019 Concert, held on April 27 at The Theater at North in Scranton. More than 600 people attended the concert.

The Schwartz Mack Foundation gift was made in memory of David J. Nicoteri, the late son of David and Michelle Nicoteri. Michelle Nicoteri is administrative support assistant for Student Programs and Services on campus.

“It is an honor to receive this grant for our music students, and I know that the students, too, are very appreciative of this financial support from the Schwartz Mack Foundation. This funding provides great musical performance opportunities for our students,” said Sharon Ann Toman, music program director, assistant teaching professor in music and coordinator of the campus arts and humanities program.

“Penn State Scranton is incredibly grateful for the generous gift from the Schwartz Mack Foundation,” said Marwan Wafa, campus chancellor. “Because of their generosity, the campus was able to showcase the talents of the Penn State Scranton Chorale, Roc[k]tet and Jazz Band, as well as the students from the Wallenpaupack Area Middle School chorus, at the annual Spring Concert.”

The funding continues a productive relationship between the Schwartz Mack Foundation and the music program, which has grown from about 10 to 75 members, including students, staff and faculty, since its founding in 2000.

The foundation first provided funding to the program for the 2016-17 academic year, after Schwartz Mack officials met with Toman, Wafa and former campus Director of Development Maria Russoniello, who made the initial contact. 

“The foundation really liked what was being done with our campus' music program,” Toman said. “Through the years, the funding has been used for a variety of musical expenses that are incurred during the rehearsal and production of a professional-quality musical performance.”

Besides the Spring 2019 concert, the grant will be used to fund the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 performances. In addition, Toman said, the funds may be used for other expenses, including performance location rental costs, concert dress attire, music, and the purchase, repair or replacement of musical instruments.

Those things all come with substantial fees, which makes the grant that much more important to the music program’s mission.

“We very much appreciate the continued support of the Schwartz Mack Foundation so that Penn State Scranton may continue to offer musical performance opportunities to our students,” Toman said.

This gift will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit