GCC is ‘Putting on the Ritz’

Encore co-chairs John and Cathy Witkowski.

BATAVIA — Tickets are now on sale for next month’s Genesee Community College’s 2021 Encore celebration, an annual scholarship fundraising gala for the GCC Foundation.

A holiday concert by Nik and the Nice Guys is among the activities set for the gala, which includes dinner, drinks and dancing. The event is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 4.

Since its inception, Encore has provided an opportunity for the local community to raise funds for student scholarships. In 2020, the Foundation awarded more than $120,000 in scholarships.

This year’s event is chaired by John and Cathy Witkowski.

“GCC has seen tremendous growth over the years and part of the success is the generosity of the alumni and communities that surround the college,” said John Witkowski, president and CEO of the Independent Bankers Association of New York State since 2014. “It’s an honor for Cathy and I to co-chair Encore - Putting on the Ritz! It’s an event that supports our students and pays dividends for future success for not only the GLOW region but also globally.”

Added Cathy Witkowski: “After putting three kids through school, John and I realize the fundamental importance of education and what it means to the future of our communities and families. Hosting this event is an opportunity for us to help many more students achieve their dreams for the future. There is nothing better than to support such a meaningful cause and have a great time while doing so.”

John Witkowski is a director of the New York Business Development Corporation; ICBA Securities; the Genesee Community College Foundation and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association.

He has extensive experience in the New York banking industry. He was president and CEO of Wyoming County Bank, and regional president/executive vice president of retail banking at Five Star Bank where he oversaw small business development, mortgage operations, investment and fee-based services and the retail branch network. Earlier in his career with Fleet and Bank of America, he developed strategic initiatives such as remote relationship management for small business customers. He also was president of JW Consulting Group, advising banks, small businesses and entrepreneurs.

A native New Yorker, Witkowski earned a degree in economics from Columbia University in New York City. As a student-athlete and quarterback of the football team, he was the winner of the 1982 Asa A. Bushnell Cup for leadership, competitive spirit, contribution to the team, and accomplishments on the field. He holds 12 passing records, six total offense marks and five Ivy League records. After graduating and before beginning his banking career, he was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1984 National Football League draft, and played several seasons in the NFL and the World League of American Football.

Tompkins Financial Corporation will be the presenting sponsor for “Putting on the Ritz” evening and has donated generously to this year’s student scholarships, according to GCC officials.

“At Tompkins, local is at the heart of who we are, which is why we value the direct impact GCC has on our local community,” said David S. Boyce, Tompkins Insurance president & CEO.

For ticket information, go to www.gccfoundationinc.org/encore

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