The St. Ambrose University Wine Tasting on May 16 became the most recent event lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
But despite the cancelation, future SAU student scholars still will benefit from ongoing community support. The SAU Alumni Office and Wine Festival Committee anticipate adding more than $60,000 to the Student Scholarship Fund this year, thanks to the benevolence of ticket holders.
"We offered refunds to anyone who pre-purchased tickets to the Tasting and, despite the economic uncertainty this pandemic has caused, no one took us up on that," said SAU's Executive Director of Advancement Anne Gannaway. "And despite the inconvenience rescheduling the Preview Dinner from April to October 3 will cause many of our out-of-town guests, we have been asked to refund only two pre-purchased tickets for that event.
"Maybe I shouldn't be surprised after several years of working with the people who so strongly support this event and the future students it benefits, but there are often moments when it's clear their generosity knows no limits," Gannaway added. "This is absolutely one of those moments."
Leading up to this spring, the annual Wine Festival series – going on its 20th year – had raised nearly $1.4 million to help provide scholarship assistance to students eager to build their futures on the invaluable foundation of a St. Ambrose University education.
Gannaway said corporate sponsorships provide a critical foundation for the Wine Festival itself, and this year's corporate sponsors have remained steadfast in their support despite the economic losses many of those sponsors are incurring as a result of the pandemic.
"These generous sponsors clearly understand the compassion and determination our students develop. They know Ambrosians will help them become part of the solution in difficult moments like this – now and far into the future," said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, PhD, President of St. Ambrose University.
"Extended support such as this does much more than assist our students through scholarship funding," she added. "It also fortifies the resolve of St. Ambrose faculty and staff to continue doing the important work we do, and gives us all a sense of pride and a semblance of solace in difficult times such as these."
Wine Festival 2021
March 6, Wine at the Warehouse; April 10, Preview Dinner; May 22, Wine Festival Wine Tasting
Large Wine Festival Sponsors include: Dimitri Wine and Spirits, NelsonCorp Wealth Management, Sodexo, Mandle Design, U.S. Bank, Russell Construction and Development, Advance Homes Inc., Estes Construction, Hornbuckle Heating and Air, and Ryan and Associates.
Sister Joan, Gannaway and the entire St. Ambrose community look forward to toasting the inspirational support the Wine Festival has experienced in the midst of this historic challenge at the October Preview Dinner and, particularly, as the Ambrosian community celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Wine Festival in 2021.
The 2021 schedule of events:
Saturday, March 6, 2021 - Wine at the Warehouse
Saturday, April 10, 2021 - Preview Dinner
Saturday, May 22, 2021 - Wine Festival Wine Tasting