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It was a cloudy, windy and chilly 42 degrees on Sunday, February 5, as the waves broke on Rehoboth Beach. Yet, despite the cold, 12 members of Wilmington University’s Pi Gamma Mu Honor’s Society (PGM) were standing on the sand in their swimsuits, ready to plunge into the icy water for the 21st Annual Lewes Polar Bear Plunge.
The 12 members of “The Pi Gamma Mu from WilmU” helped raise $1,295 for this popular event benefiting Special Olympics Delaware. Lined up with over 3,600 other “Polar Bears,” the Wilmington University plungers ran into the frigid, choppy ocean at full speed with no hesitation. They knew they were plunging for a great cause.
Among the plungers were event organizer and PGM Vice President Stephanie Szczerba, PGM adviser Johanna Bishop and the state’s very own Miss Delaware, Maria Cahill, a Wilmington University Marketing student. Team members Kyle Dorsey, Matt Gaden, Scott George, Sharon Houser, John Houser, Andrew Lightfoot, Barb Richardson, Cathy Solomon and Sarah Young, along with a number of unregistered friends and family members also partook in the plunge.
Pi Gamma Mu is the oldest and preeminent honor society in the social sciences. Their mission is to encourage and recognize superior scholarship in social-science disciplines and to foster cooperation and social service among its members. Including Wilmington University’s Delaware Beta Chapter, there are 150 active chapters in the United States and overseas.
Wilmington University Assistant Professor and PGM adviser Johanna Bishop says about the plunge: “The event this year, because of the clouds and wind, was much colder than last year, our first year participating in the event. But even in the midst of the cold, there was such warmth between us. It really was a [family] affair, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!”
The Lewes Polar Bear Plunge, presented by Wawa and Comcast, has been held annually since 1990. This year, plunge records were broken with 3,685 “Polar Bears” raising over $650,000. In the 21 years the event has taken place, over $6.15 million has been raised to benefit Special Olympics Delaware.
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012 - New Castle, DE