Category — News

Hilton Garden Inn at IUP moving forward



INDIANA, Pa.—Indiana University of Pennsylvania and IUP Hospitality, LLC, announced today that construction of a Hilton Garden Inn adjacent to IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex will begin this spring.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for this six-story upscale lodging facility will take place April 29.

The hotel, to be built near the intersection of Pratt Drive and Wayne Avenue, is projected to open in summer 2016 with 128 guest rooms and suites.

Fiore Brothers Management, LLC, of Altoona, and Hospitality Asset Management Company (HAMCO), of State College, are developers of the project. The hotel will be privately funded, privately owned, operated by HAMCO, and sited on the IUP campus by means of a ground lease.

“An adjacent hotel was part of the vision for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex from the beginning. I’m elated that the IUP team and our great partners are now making that vision a reality,” IUP President Michael Driscoll said.

“All of the principals involved in this project have a very long, strong and positive reputation in the hospitality industry, and we feel very confident that the hotel will be a great success,” IUP Vice President for Administration and Finance Cornelius Wooten said.

“The Kovalchick Complex has been well supported by the community and continues to grow in popularity, and the hotel can only add to the facility’s success,” Wooten said.

This upscale hotel will be designed, constructed and operated per Hilton brand standards, and will include the following:

  • An indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness center
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hour business center
  • Food and beverage spaces, including a full-service restaurant and lounge with cooked-to-order breakfast, dinner, cocktails and evening room service
  • A total of 3,000 square feet of meeting space

Construction will include green technology, and many exterior design elements will be incorporated to blend with university architectural features.

“We are pleased to bring the vision of many community leaders into reality,” said Michael Fiore, representing the Fiore organization. “We look forward to working with the community to be a responsible neighbor.”

“Being on the IUP campus and immediately next to the Kovalchick Complex will allow visitors, community members, faculty, students and local guests to maximize the use of the Hilton Garden Inn,” Mark Morath, president of Hospitality Asset Management Company, said. “The facility will offer an ideal gathering location, with a lobby lounge, restaurant and outdoor terrace dining.”

University officials project that bookings for events, conferences and meetings at the Kovalchick Complex have the potential to increase by 15 to 20 percent with the addition of the hotel. During fiscal year 2013-14, the Kovalchick Complex hosted a record-breaking 407 events attended by 167,000 patrons. Those events included IUP commencement ceremonies. More than 47,000 people attended 325 conference center events during the 2013-14 fiscal year. The Ed Fry Arena in the Kovalchick Complex is home to IUP men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Kovalchick Complex opened in March 2011.



IUP is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.


April 29, 2015   No Comments

2015 Spring Newsletter

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April 2, 2015   No Comments

Covered Bridge Day Tour – May 16

Join Indiana County Tourist Bureau and Indiana County Parks and Trails for a Covered Bridge Tour!

February 26, 2015   No Comments

Indiana County Tourist Bureau Donates Computers

The Indiana County Tourist Bureau was pleased to help three of their members with refurbished computers. Thanks to the assistance of KAPLET Technology Solutions, the three computers were cleaned and prepped for the new owners. The Historical Society of the Blairsville Area, The Chevy Chase Community Center, and the John G. Schmick Heritage Center each received a computer for their non-profit organization.

February 25, 2015   No Comments

IUP to Honor Nell Jack with President’s Medal of Distinction

 Nell G. Jack will receive the 2015 Indiana University of Pennsylvania President’s Medal of Distinction for dedication and support.

Michael Driscoll, IUP president, will present the award to Jack at the annual Leader’s Circle of Indiana County awards event on April 22 at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

The President’s Medal of Distinction is the highest non-degree award the university presents. It was established in 1985 to honor citizens of the state and region whose professional achievement or public service is of national significance or special significance to the university.

As a longtime Indiana resident, and even after her departure for the warmer temperatures of Arizona, Jack has been a loyal friend to IUP and the Indiana community, backing a wide range of interests that have benefited university tradition and raised institutional visibility and prestige, Driscoll said.

“Mrs. Jack has been actively engaged and has supported the university and the community her entire public life,” he said. “Her generosity has enhanced this university in many arenas. She has helped us to present cultural and educational offerings that have elevated the stature of the university, and her support for scholarships has benefited, and will continue to help, hundreds of students, including our student-athletes. She has my admiration and respect, and I feel fortunate to have gotten to know her during my time here at IUP.”

With her husband, the late Sam Jack, Nell Jack was responsible for the restoration of the Blue Room that came on the heels of a legendary alumni and community movement to save John Sutton Hall. Sutton is the campus’s original building and housed all of Indiana State Normal School.

The building had been slated for demolition, but public outcry and a subsequent capital campaign saved the structure, now on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

The Jacks’ gift, made in 1978, amounted to nearly a third of the campaign goal. They said they made the gift not only to restore the Blue Room, but also to inspire others to invest in IUP’s historic architectural treasure.

In 1984, Jack and her husband established the Nell and Sam Jack Distinguished American Lecturer Series. The caliber of speakers attracted coverage in the Pittsburgh media, raising the stature of IUP regionally while also providing the university and surrounding community access to thought-provoking lectures by America’s most prestigious figures. They included Alexander Haig, Carl Sagan, Sandra Day O’Connor, William F. Buckley Jr., and Beverly Sills, among others.

For the last three decades, Jack has lent her name to a golf tournament to raise scholarship funds for women athletes at IUP. In addition, she and her daughter, Christine Toretti, established a scholarship that has benefited scores of athletes. In recognition of her contributions, Jack was inducted as an honorary member of the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

In 2012, Jack established two new scholarships in honor of Indiana residents and IUP alumni Walt and Sue Lewis. One benefits students in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology who are pursuing degrees in energy management, and the other benefits members of the men’s basketball team.

The Leader’s Circle awards dinner, now in its 16th year, recognizes the recipient of the IUP President’s Medal of Distinction and the nominees and recipients of the Indiana County Male and Female Civic Leader awards and the ATHENA Award. The Leader’s Circle of Indiana County includes representation from IUP, civic organizations, past award recipients, and award sponsors.  (article/information pulled from IUP NEWS)



At the April 22 event, the award recipients will be selected from the following 15 finalists in no specific order:


  • Pat Dougherty from Indiana, PA  Nominated by Alice Paul House
  • Linda S. Gwinn from Blairsville, PA; nominated by Quota International of Indiana
  • Kelly Howells from Marion Center, PA; nominated by Indiana County Chamber of Commerce
  • Malinda M. Levis from Indiana, PA; nominated by Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)
  • Kelly Ann Pidgeon from Indiana, PA; nominated by Marilyn Dilg
  • Elizabeth (Betsy) E. Sarneso from Indiana, PA; nominated by Indiana Business and Professional Women
  • Nancy Sherry-Helsel from Indiana, PA; nominated by YMCA of Indiana County

Female Civic Leader Award

  • Michele Norwood from Indiana, PA; nominated by Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)
  • Sherry Renosky from Homer City, PA; nominated by Indiana County Chamber of Commerce
  • Sandy Trimble from Penn Run, PA; nominated by Indiana County Tourist Bureau

Male Civic Leader Award

  • Michael Hood from Indiana, PA; nominated by Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP)
  • Ralph May from Indiana, PA; nominated by Indiana Community Guidance Center
  • Tim McQuaide from Indiana, PA; nominated by Downtown Indiana, Inc.
  • John J. Morganti, Jr. from Indiana, PA; nominated by Quota International of Indiana
  • Hal Wingard, from Indiana PA; nominated by Indiana Rotary

The ATHENA Award honors a woman or a man who is recognized for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

November 1, 2014   No Comments

Ghost Town Trail voted #4 of Top Ten Trails in Pennsylvania!

RTC( Rails-to-Trails Conservancy) asked the residents and visitors of Pennsylvania to tell them which trails deserve a Top 10 accolade.  They were flooded with responses. Thank you! This speaks volumes to the enthusiasm and passion that Pennsylvanians have for their trails. Click here for full story.

October 3, 2014   No Comments

Indiana proudly hosted the 31st Pennsylvania Governor’s Arts Awards on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014.

Click here to read more about the event and see more photos!

From left: Governor Tom Corbett, Michele Fabrizi and Eric Shiner, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Jeanne Gleason, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; composer Jennifer Higdon, Philadelphia; patron Myron Hay Tomb, Indiana, PA; patron Mark Pasquerilla, Johnstown; painter Robert Qualters, Pittsburgh; and First Lady Susan Corbett

October 1, 2014   No Comments

2014 Annual Tourism Dinner

The Indiana county Tourist Bureau held its 2014 Annual Tourism Dinner at Luigi’s Ristorante in Clymer.

The event honored their agricultural and horticultural industry members who work hard year-round to enhance life and Tourism in Indiana County!

Those honored were:

Bees’ Best Friend

Evergreen Garden Club

Indiana Community Garden

Indiana Garden Club

Cookport Fair Presented by the Green Township

Community Association

Indiana County Fair Association

Ox Hill Community Agricultural Fair

Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farms L.L.C.

Georgette’s Herb Garden & Antiques

Gregg Van Horn’s Christmas Tree Farm

Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers Association

Indiana County Farmers’ Market

Stutzman Farms

Yarnick’s Farm Market

Andy’s Own

Silverbrook Fiber Arts & Sheepskins

Smicksburg Community Cheese

Country Winery and Vineyard

Disobedient Spirits

Montgomery Underground Winery

Raspberry Acres Winery

Windgate Vineyards & Winery

Mark A. Bertig V.P.; General Manager of Renda Broadcasting Corporation, was once again the EMCEE for the evening.

Music for the evening was provided by Fiddlin’ Joe’s Legacy.

Good food, good company, and good fun was enjoyed by all!

August 17, 2014   No Comments

Tourist Bureau Attends Travel Shows

The Indiana County Tourist Bureau has been promoting heavily this year attending various travel shows in Ohio and Pennsylvania.    Maria Jack, Group Tour/Conference Associate attended the Heartland Travel Showcase in Toledo, Ohio, North Coast Golf Shows in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Pennsylvania Bus Association/Maryland Motorcoach Marketplace in Valley Forge, and Breakaway Show in New Castle.  Groups traveling by bus have seen continued growth, and the interest in visiting Indiana County has been part of that.  “It is refreshing and exciting to hear groups from all over the country inquire about the unique offerings our county has from the Jimmy Stewart Museum to Smicksburg, to Blairsville Underground Railroad Museum and all our outdoor venues from the Rails to Trails to Christmas Tree growing. I have met former residents, city dwellers looking for the small-town atmosphere, and golfers all hoping to share in the beauty and history of our area,” Jack remarks.  Tourism is the largest industry in the United States and the third largest industry to generate retail sales.  That all breaks down to dollars and jobs for our county and the Tourist Bureau works hard to secure our place in the market.  The shows brought together tour operators from Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio and Ontario, Canada.

March 31, 2014   No Comments


Fundraising Gala

Museum President, Jeffrey Tobin announced today that the award winning actress and best-selling author and beloved television star will accept the award at a dinner ceremony at  Blairsville’s Chestnut Ridge Resort on Friday evening October 3rd. Tobin said “What a statement Carol Burnett has made, to offer her time and talents in support of our museum fundraiser. This gift is a testament to the life of Jimmy Stewart and to the value of continuing his legacy here in Indiana, PA. In spite of her hectic schedule, she chose to join us during our fundraiser to recognize his life and legacy.”

Rich Little to join the Festivities!
In addition to Ms. Burnett, the museum’s loyal group of old friends will be on hand to welcome Carol to Indiana and the gala event. Stewart daughters Judy Stewart and Kelly Stewart Harcourt are expected to attend. Longtime museum friend and supporter Rich Little will be on hand to congratulate his friend on this special honor.
Carol Burnett has been honored with Emmys, Golden Globes, People’s Choice Awards, The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor and countless other awards including The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

This event, the Foundation’s annual fundraiser, supports the ongoing operation of the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The Museum is a 501-c-3 non-profit corporation

DATE:  Friday, October 3rd 2014
LOCATION: The Chestnut Ridge Resort Ballroom, Blairsville, PA
TIME:   Reception and Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar), 6pm; Dinner and Award Ceremony, 7pm
COST:  $ 153. Per person
RESERVATIONS:   Credit card reservations may be made by calling the museum @ 724-349-6112. – Reservations close on 22 September

March 12, 2014   No Comments