President’s Business Council Dinner Raises Record Amount to Support Scholarship Fund

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The University’s President’s Business Council 12th Annual Award Dinner honored University alumni John D. Dionne ’86, H’10 (left) and Jacquelyn Rasieleski Dionne ’89. They are pictured at the event at The Pierre Hotel in New York City with University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.

The University’s President’s Business Council (PBC) 12th Annual Award Dinner raised a record $1.6 million dollars while honoring University alumni Jacquelyn Rasieleski Dionne ’89, a trustee at the University, and John D. Dionne ’86, H’10, senior advisor of the Blackstone Group. The Dionnes became the first couple to be awarded the President’s Medal, through which the University and the PBC recognize honorees for excellence in their fields and extraordinary compassion for others.

Proceeds from the black-tie event, held Oct. 3 at The Pierre Hotel in New York City, support the University’s Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund.

“You are the people that we want our students to become after graduation,” said University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., of the Dionnes at the dinner. He also thanked them for their support and commitment to Catholic and Jesuit Education.

In accepting the President’s Medal, Jacquelyn Dionne said the event is “really all about the students and what a Presidential Scholarship can do to change a life.” Echoing his wife’s remarks, John Dionne reflected on the influence University alumni have had on his career and life, mentioning the “ripple affect” mentoring has as seen through the number of lives touched by the PBC.

Emily Johnson ’14, who spoke at the dinner on behalf of the Presidential Scholars, is a prime example of the PBC’s impact. After completing an internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers – her “dream firm” – she accepted a full-time position there beginning in the fall of 2014. 

“Blessed with the financial relief and academic privilege a Presidential Scholarship provides, I have had the opportunity to thrive in both my major and in other fields,” said Johnson, an accounting major with minors in philosophy, finance, and history, who will complete her undergraduate and MBA degree from Scranton this year. “The themes of opportunity, hard work, community and success are part of every Presidential Scholar’s experience. We are given the opportunity to succeed and chances to chase down our goals. I am here tonight to acknowledge your generosity.

”In addition to acknowledging fundraising support for the Presidential Scholarship Endowment Fund, Father Quinn also thanked the PBC for bringing Scranton’s “alumni closer together through a network that spans the country,” and for providing students internship and job opportunities as well as “the chance to envision their own future success through the outstanding example of Council members.”

The dinner far surpassed the event’s fundraising goal of $1.25 million, which acknowledged University’s celebration of its 125th anniversary.

This year’s Dinner Chair was Jim Slattery ’86, chief operating officer of North America for Melrose PLC. Thomas O’Brien ’86, chief operating officer and president of SumRidge Partners, LLC, serves as chair of the PBC.

A native of Scranton and a 1986 graduate of Community Medical Center School of Nursing, Jacquelyn Dionne received a bachelor’s degree in Health Administration from the University. Her career as a critical care nurse spanned 15 years including service to Mount Auburn Hospital, a Harvard University affiliate, and with the New Hampshire Heart Institute in Manchester. Currently, she serves as a vice president for the National Charity League.

A founding co-vice chair of the PBC, John Dionne served as global head of Private Equity Business Development for the Blackstone Group and as a member of its investment committees. He originally joined Blackstone in 2004 as the founder and chief investment officer of the Blackstone Distressed Securities Fund, the firm's initial entry into the single-manager hedge fund practice with peak assets under management of $2 billion. His career includes extensive experience in alternative investments, particularly with financially troubled companies. He is a former chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and has served on a number of corporate and non-profit boards. He received bachelor’s degrees in accounting, economics and finance from Scranton and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991. 

Together the Dionnes are actively involved with Turnaround for Children, Inc., which focuses on the transformation of high-poverty, low-performing public schools in the greater New York region. They live in Westport, Conn., with their three children.

For additional information, contact Timothy J. Pryle ’89, executive director of the PBC, at 570-941-5837 or pbc@scranton.edu.

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