Wayne State University’s Irvin D. Reid Honors College Dean John Corvino is someone who believes that, even in a pandemic, the show must go on.
Back in the spring, Corvino had planned a fundraiser at the Waterview Loft at Port Detroit titled Fuel the Finish!, complete with a scheduled performance by the acclaimed Detroit Youth Choir. The event was supposed to launch the Honors College’s Finish Line Fund, providing financial support for eligible seniors.
The pandemic interrupted those plans. “We postponed the event to September 17,” Corvino explained, “hoping that large in-person gatherings would once again be feasible. But they’re not.”
Not to worry — Corvino’s creative team is producing Zoom to the Finish!, an online event including student musical and dance performances, interviews and special guests. The event will be presented as a YouTube watch party on Sept. 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. Eastern time — a day that fortuitously happens to be Wayne State’s annual Giving Day.
Among the evening’s guests will be Wayne State President Emeritus Irvin D. Reid — the Honors College’s namesake — who is making a $10,000 challenge gift: He will double-match any gift of at least $50. That means $50 becomes $150; $100 becomes $300, and so on.
Corvino hopes the fundraiser will be a strong start to his goal of someday making the Honors College tuition-free. He recognizes this big goal has a big price tag — which is why he’s beginning with the senior year.
“Imagine what a game changer it would be if you knew that your strong academic performance would be rewarded with a senior year tuition break,” he said. “Finish line scholarships would allow our seniors to focus on preparing for grad school, professional school, or career, instead of worrying about more debt.”
Gifts of any amount can support the Finish Line endowment, which will generate scholarships for selected seniors. These will be based on financial need and academic achievement. Larger gifts or pledges ($25,000 or more) can be used to create named Finish Line scholarships. Corvino’s own named scholarship, created to commemorate his 50th birthday last year, will be designated as a Finish Line Scholarship.
The College will also solicit several dozen “Finish Line Friends” to pledge at least $1,000 annually for at least three years. Instead of going toward the endowment, these funds will be awarded right away, allowing the Honors College to award many more Finish Line scholarships than the initial endowment will support.
“This fund is an awesome idea for the countless students who have worked tirelessly and are in need of some breathing room during their senior year," said Gino Arondoski, a 2018 Honors College graduate with a major in finance. "Such support can go a long way for a twentysomething trying to balance their work, social life and, most importantly, future."
Corvino, who is known for his popular YouTube videos, is excited by the event’s new format. “Think of it as an Honors ‘variety hour’ that showcases some of Wayne State’s best and brightest, along with how proud we are of them,” he said.
For more information about Zoom to the Finish! — which is free to attend — or to donate to the Finish Line Fund, go to honors.wayne.edu/finishline.