PHILADELPHIA -- Three University of Pennsylvania alumni are in the midst of a cross-country bike race against a four-man team of Bucknell alums to raise $1 million in scholarship funds for each university to support outstanding students from low-income backgrounds.
The Bucknell-Penn Alumni Bike Race Across America for Scholarship, believed to be the first such effort by a group of university alumni to raise scholarship funds, is expected to take 19 days.
The 3,050-mile competition, which began Sept. 9 in Santa Monica, Calif., and ends for the Penn riders on Penn's campus on Sept. 27, will also honor the memory of Ed Zolla, a 1968 graduate of Penn's Wharton School. Zolla had planned to make this ride but died unexpectedly at age 58 last year. His wife of 35 years, '68 Bucknell alumna Susan Penecale Zolla, hosted a kick-off reception for the riders at her home and has been a donor/supporter of the effort.
Members of the Penn team are Mike Shockro and '64 graduates Bruce Lederman and Ted Lansky. Riding for Bucknell are Walter McConnell, '53; Frank Arentowicz, '69: and Pat O'Malley and Kyle Rosendale, both '07.
"Alumni of two highly regarded universities are taking action to address the pressing needs of students and universities," Arentowicz, one of the organizers of the ride, said. "We know scholarships will help provide a more diverse student body for both institutions."
The cyclists will ride 12 hours a day, covering about 163 miles a day, passing through California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. The team will climb 103,000 feet of elevation during the course of the ride along a coast-to-coast itinerary considered one of world's toughest cycling routes.
The riders plan to arrive in Philadelphia on Sept. 27 and make a grand entrance at 7 p.m. on the Penn campus, where a celebration is planned at the Sweeten Alumni House on Locust Walk.
The Web site www.alumnibikerace.com provides daily reports on the riders' progress along with rider blogs, pictures and video. The Web site also contains information about donating to the scholarships and will show a daily tally of the amount raised through midnight Sept. 27.
Additional information is available by contacting Fanny Chu-Fong at 215-898-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.