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By Sam Alcorn
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Three generations of Bucknell alumni will cycle across the United States in September to raise $1 million for a scholarship fund for outstanding students from low-income backgrounds.
In the first such effort by a group of university alumni to raise scholarship funds, the Bucknell-Penn Alumni Bike Race Across America for Scholarship will ride coast to coast in 19 days - from Santa Monica, Calif., to Atlantic City, N.J. Riding for Team Bucknell are Walter McConnell '53, Frank Arentowicz '69, Pat O'Malley '07, and Kyle Rosendale '07.
Additional riders will represent the University of Pennsylvania. Their goal also is to raise $1 million for their alma mater.
Pressing needs of students
"Alumni of two highly regarded universities are taking action to address the pressing needs of students and universities," said Arentowicz, one of the organizers of the ride. "We know our efforts and the gifts of our supporters will provide more access to Bucknell for families of all economic backgrounds. We know scholarships will help provide a more diverse student body for both institutions."
He added, "This in turn, will benefit our society, our nation, and the world."
Sam Lundquist, vice president for development and alumni relations at Bucknell, embraced the scholarship funding effort by the Bucknellians. "This ride is more than a journey across the United States. It represents a tremendous desire to give back to the Bucknell community and to support the dreams and hopes of deserving students," he said.
One of toughest cycling routes
Along the coast-to-coast route, considered one of world's toughest cycling routes, meet-and-greet events are being planned in a variety of cities where the Bucknell community can cheer on the riding team. There'll be a send-off event in Los Angeles Sept. 8 and meets in Phoenix, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.
The ride itinerary covers 3,050 miles from Sunday, Sept. 9, to Thursday, Sept. 27 - about 163 miles a day. If all riders remain healthy, each will bike about 30 miles a day before letting the next competitor take over. The ride will cross 14 states - California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. Follow their day-to-day progress on the Interactive Map, too.
The team will ride 12 hours a day - from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. - followed by a sag wagon dressed in Bucknell's colors and logo. During the course of the ride, the team will climb 103,000 feet of elevation.
Lewisburg celebration Sept. 29
The Bucknell riding team plans to arrive in Lewisburg on Friday, Sept. 28, for a celebration and on Saturday, Sept. 29, enter Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium just prior to the start of the Bucknell-Marist football game to present the game ball.
A Web site (www.alumnibikerace.com) will provide daily reports on the riders' progress, rider blogs, pictures, and video. The Web site will also show a daily tally of the amount raised through midnight Sept. 27.
Asked why he decided to participate in the ride across America, Class of 2007 rider O'Malley said, "I owe a great deal to Bucknell in so many ways. This race is a way for me to return the favor."
Delayed work start date
The new Bucknell graduate of Springfield, Mass., had accepted a position in Washington, D.C., at Price Waterhouse Coopers and was to have started work in September when he decided to join the cross-country ride. Price Waterhouse Coopers agreed to delay his start date when they heard the purpose of the ride.
During the ride, Arentowicz, a member of the Board of Trustees at Bucknell, will celebrate his 60th birthday on Sept. 24. He lives in Brentwood, Calif., and is an investment advisor at Kayne Anderson Rudnick in Century City, Calif.
Rosendale of Canton, Ohio, graduated in 2007 as a member of Bucknell's first-ever class of biomedical engineers. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to use the alumni bike race to give future generations of students a Bucknell experience that rivals my own," said Rosendale.
Experienced cyclist and adventurer
An experienced cyclist and adventurer, McConnell, who will be 76 years old in October, lives in Lake George, N.Y., and is a second-year member of the Bucknell Alumni Board.
The riders are encouraging other individuals to join them en route or to be "virtual riders." A virtual rider is anyone who commits to give to the scholarship fund or helps to solicit others to give to the scholarship funds of either university.
"Frank, Pat, Kyle, and I are looking forward to reconnecting with many Bucknellians across the country and we hope many will ride with us for a segment," said McConnell. "Whether you ride or not, we ask you to support us with a commitment to the scholarship fund."
It was one such reconnection that brought Arentowicz and McConnell together in 2006.
Amazingly, McConnell and Arentowicz hadn't seen each other for 38 years. The last time was when McConnell was the doctor for Arentowciz's high school football team in New Jersey. At Homecoming 2006, they met at halftime at the football game and started talking. Soon, plans for the cross-country alumni ride were being hatched.
Contact: Office of Communications
Posted July 26, 2007
Updated Aug. 20, 2007