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Latrobe couple adds $2M to gift for IUP science and math building

Jeff Himler
| Monday, April 16, 2018, 6:54 p.m.
Debra and Tim Cejka
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Debra and Tim Cejka

Part-time Latrobe residents Tim and Debra Cejka have pledged $2 million toward a new science and mathematics building at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, adding to the $5 million they already pledged for the project.

The couple, who are IUP alumni, announced their newest gift during the state-owned university's annual Celebration of Philanthropy last week. The additional money completes a match the Pennsylvania Department of General Services requires to begin construction of the facility.

“We are so impressed with all the work we've seen at IUP in the last several years,” Tim Cejka said. “We believe in the university's vision. We believe in the vision of (IUP's) College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.”

Debra Cejka said she and her husband want to “ensure the new science facility is everything our students need it to be to become the next leaders in science, industry, health care and education.”

The Cejkas, both members of the IUP Class of 1973, split their time between Latrobe and Houston. Tim Cejka is the retired CEO of ExxonMobil Exploration Co. and vice president of ExxonMobil. The Cejkas co-chair the Natural Sciences and Mathematics component of IUP's Imagine Unlimited fundraising campaign, which also supports a range of scholarships, an executive-in-residence program for IUP's Eberly College of Business and Information Technology, programs for the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement, and health care simulation programs and facilities,

Based on the strength of donor support, the university has increased the fundraising goal from $40 million to $75 million. Campaign leaders noted, as of Friday, $53 million was raised and is expected to reach the larger goal in the next three years.

John and Char Kopchick, IUP alumni from Athens, Ohio, have announced they will contribute $23 million toward science and mathematics initiatives — the largest single gift in the university's history.

Other notable campaign donors include: William and Judy Scheeren of Greensburg, who serve on IUP's College of Education and Communications Advancement Council and committed $1.4 million to initiatives in that college; campaign co-chairs William and Audrey Madia, of Montara, Calif., who committed $1 million to science and mathematics initiatives; and Terry Serafini of Pittsburgh, who gave $1 million in support of campus beautification and mathematics and business initiatives.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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