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GALLOWAY - Members of the Hammonton community and Stockton University recently celebrated having raised more than $101,500 in gifts and commitments for the Hammonton Scholarship Endowment by unveiling pillars dedicated to eight major donors at Kramer Hall, the university’s instructional site in downtown Hammonton.

“This is a special day for not only the community of Hammonton but also for the university,” said President Harvey Kesselman. “You have exceeded the goal of $100,000 and it goes to benefit local Hammonton students.” He added that once the full $100,000 is realized, the Stockton University Foundation, chaired by Hammonton’s Johanna Johnson, will match the donations of the ongoing campaign for 10 years, resulting in at least $8,000 in scholarships for students each year.

Kesselman applauded Johnson’s new role as chair and recognized Charles and Lynn Kramer, for whom the instructional site is named, as “true ambassadors from Stockton to Hammonton and the state of New Jersey.”

The eight donors, who each gave $5,000 or more, were honored with plaques placed on wooden pillars at Kramer Hall, a beautifully refurbished three-story former shoe and clothing factory at 30 Front St.

“You are the champions of hope,” Kesselman said. “The pillars are really you.” He said when student recipients succeed, they will give back to the community and “model your generous spirit.”

Scholarship recipients Marielena Dottoli, David Parra Moreno and Cynthia Bartolone thanked the gathering for the help they have received.

“If it weren’t for all of you, I wouldn’t be here,” said Bartolone, a communication studies major who said she is paying for college on her own, and appreciates the extra help.

"I am so honored to receive such a meaningful award from the Stockton University Foundation and the people of Hammonton,” said Dottoli, a senior majoring in communication studies. “Stockton and the Town of Hammonton have always provided me with so many wonderful opportunities to succeed, for which I will always be grateful. Both Stockton and Hammonton mean so much to me and truly feel like home. Both have given me the most amazing family, friends, education and priceless experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today.

“The Hammonton Endowed Scholarship is all about helping one’s neighbors, something that I firmly believe in and work every day to accomplish. With this scholarship, I will be able to continue my education and work toward achieving my goals, while giving back to others, something I credit my parents, family and friends for instilling in me,” Dottoli continued.

“The generous contributions of the people of Hammonton and the surrounding areas show the true heart and family spirit the town encompasses, which is something that Stockton mirrors.”

Nick Sena, executive director of Development and Alumni Affairs, noted that there are still 25 more pillars in the three-story building, and donations will continue to be cultivated.

He cited the contributions of many, including former foundation chair Rick Walker and his wife, Millie, and Ed Wrobleski and his wife, June, with helping him get the scholarship drive started in Hammonton.

“Stockton is dedicated to the success of Atlantic County,” Wrobleski said, citing Johnson and Kesselman as among the reasons he is involved. “Stockton is responsible for reversing the brain drain” from Atlantic County and the region, he said.

Kramer Hall features state-of-the-art classrooms, seminar rooms, a computer lab, and an Art Gallery. The building’s original wooden pillars represent the history of Hammonton and the university’s present and future in town.

To make a donation to the Hammonton Endowed Scholarship, visit Stockton.edu/kramer/scholarship or call Sena at (609) 652-4789.

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