Ursinus Takes Home Two Top Awards at “Best of the Valley” Gala

In a nod to the college’s growing efforts to become an even better community partner, the Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized Sharon Hansen, director of career and post-graduate development, as its 2020 Business Star of the Year, and awarded Ursinus College its Large Business of the Year during its annual PV Stars Best of the Valley Gala on Thursday, February 20.

The gala is an event that brings together leaders from Montgomery, northeastern Chester and southern Berks counties for an evening to celebrate and acknowledge businesses, both for- and non-profit, and individuals who make a positive impact in the community.

“We’re honored to have been recognized by the Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce for striving to make an even greater positive impact throughout the region. Not only do we work hard to welcome families to campus, but we are finding interesting and novel ways for our faculty, staff and students to support our friends in Collegeville and other towns,” said Heather Lobban-Viravong, vice president for college and community engagement. “Ursinus is proud to be part of such vibrant local communities.”

Last year, the college provided more than two dozen opportunities for the surrounding neighborhoods to interact with scholars, authors and thought leaders through free and low cost access to events organized by the CASE office, the college’s arts and lectures committee, the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, and other community partners like Montgomery County Libraries and the Towne Book Center. The college’s organic farm and our sustainability efforts were also recognized and, the Ursinus Center for Advocacy, Responsibility and Engagement (UCARE) continues to serve as a hub for community engagement and social advocacy through partnerships with more than 30 community agencies.

Additionally, members of the surrounding community enjoy free access to the critically acclaimed Berman Museum of Art; theater, dance and musical performances; and Division III sporting events. Last year’s Movies on the Lawn series, co-sponsored by the Collegeville Economic Development Corporation, welcomed hundreds of families to campus, while a “moon party” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and the 150 Fest helped usher in the college’s sesquicentennial anniversary year.

Three finalists are selected from a pool of nominees in recognition for their efforts of corporate volunteer initiatives, charitable civic events, humanitarian efforts, environmental work, fundraising, endowments, innovation and grants. In addition to the Large Business of the Year and Business Star of the Year awards, categories include: Emerging Business of the Year, Local Business of the Year. Nonprofit of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

Since coming to Ursinus in 2011, Hansen has worked to develop and nurture relationships with hundreds of employers and organizations allowing Ursinus students and alumni to pursue countless internship and career opportunities.

“It is an honor to be able to serve in a role that builds bridges between Ursinus and the greater community,” said Hansen, who was also touted for her work supporting St. James Episcopal Church Outreach House and Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, among other volunteer service endeavors.

The gala included a performance from the Ursinus College String Ensemble and remarks from keynote speaker Marc Mero, an inspirational speaker, author and former professional wrestler.