PBMares, in honor of retiring CEO, Alan S. Witt, announced as sponsor of the Class of 2021, to provide annual college scholarships
An Achievable Dream (AAD) announced PBMares as the sponsor of the Class of 2021, in honor of retiring CEO, Alan S. Witt, during the 28th Annual Tennis Ball gala on Saturday, November 14. The event was a virtual “mask-eurade” event with sponsors or guests participating from their homes or small gatherings. As class sponsors, PBMares has committed to providing annual merit scholarships for each member of the class for each year they attend college and maintain a certain grade point average. The graduates of the Class of 2021, who were honored in a special ceremony during the Virtual Tennis Ball, will be known as the Alan S. Witt Scholars.
The firm partners orchestrated the sponsorship as a complete surprise to CEO, Alan S. Witt, as he prepares to retire at the end of December, 2020. The virtual program included a video tribute to Witt’s community service, legacy of giving back, and longtime involvement in An Achievable Dream.
PBMares partner, Harvey Johnson, shared in the video, “The one organization that has always had a special place in Alan’s heart is An Achievable Dream, and it’s something that he has been part of since the beginning. We couldn’t think of a better way to honor Alan’s legacy than to honor the legacy of his dear friend [AAD founder], Walter. And we are so excited to be this year’s class sponsor in his name.”
Witt, who was surprised during the program when AAD president and CEO, Dr. Lee Vreeland, went live to the video audience to make the announcement, shared a few words with the small group of PBMares guests gathered to watch the video livestream. “To my friends, my associates, at PBMares, thank you so much. This is an incredible honor. As I have tried to give back to my community, I have always held Walter up as the individual who was relentless in doing so. I am humbled, and I’m appreciative.”
Dr. Lee Vreeland, who has served as president and CEO of An Achievable Dream since September, 2018, has been with the organization for over 24 years and has known Alan Witt for nearly as long. She shares about Witt, “Alan is someone who is extremely meaningful to this community and who has changed the path of Newport News forever. He was with An Achievable Dream from the very beginning. Words can’t express the complete admiration and respect that I have for Alan, and we are thrilled that the Class of 2021 will forever be known as the Alan S. Witt Scholars.”
Virtual guests of the 28th Annual Tennis Ball celebrated the Class of 2021 and heard from AAD alumna, Jada Lewis, who is a third-year, full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University and is employed full-time at Casey Auto Group, during the evening’s inspirational video program.
Class sponsorship of An Achievable Dream graduates is a concept dating from 1992 when the late Walter Segaloff, AAD founder, and local businessman, rallied the Newport News business community behind the program that provided additional resources for underserved students. Each year since 2001, businesses and individuals have stepped forward to serve as class sponsors, ensuring that finances are not a limitation for AAD graduates attending college. On average, 90% of An Achievable Dream graduates have continued to a two or four-year college or trade school, while 10% have joined the military or entered the workforce. Segaloff, who passed away in 2013, founded An Achievable Dream on the belief that ALL children can learn and succeed, regardless of socioeconomic background. Segaloff’s vision has helped level the playing field for thousands of students since the program’s inception in 1992.
Previous Newport News class sponsors are: the Frank and Marie Blechman Foundation (2001);Mary Hughes, owner, Hampton Roads Harley-Davidson (2002, 2012); Michelle Jacobs, former president of the Lee Group (2003); Chesapeake Bay Seafood House Restaurants, in honor of Alan and Beverley Diamonstein (2004); Caleb and Virginia West and Dollar Tree Stores (2005); Smithfield Foods (2006, 2015); W.M. Jordan Company (2007); Ferguson Enterprises (2008); NC and Linda Hardee (2009, 2010); Bay Electric Company and the Biagas Family (2011); Aubrey and Peggy Layne (2013); Mike and Nancy Petters (2014); Charles and Mari Ann Banks and Ferguson Enterprises (2016); Ferguson Enterprises and the Fass Family (2017); the Levin and Friedberg Families (2018); Charles and Mari Ann Banks (2019), The Executive Leadership Team of Newport News Shipbuilding (2020); and now PBMares in Honor of Alan S. Witt (2021).