Fundraiser for deceased Penn State frat pledge nets $150,000

Fraternity House Deadly Fall
The Piazza family with Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.

The parents of Tim Piazza, the Pennsylvania State University sophomore who died in February after a fraternity party where hazing is alleged to have occurred, have started a foundation in their son’s name, which they said raised $150,000 this week at an inaugural fundraiser.

The money, raised through a golf outing and auction in Bedminster, N.J., will be used for college scholarships at Piazza’s alma mater, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, and for children in need of prosthetic devices — an area that Piazza had been interested in pursuing as a career.

“The incredible response is a reflection of the magnetic, caring personality that was our son, and his spirit now infuses the work of the foundation,” Jim and Evelyn Piazza said in a statement. “We are deeply thankful to the event sponsors, dozens of volunteers, hundreds who participated, either by golfing, attending the dinner, and/or purchasing a wide array of donated auction items. It was an amazing team effort and planning has already started for next year.”

The Piazzas established the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation following their son’s death. Piazza, 19, died of a nonrecoverable head injury, ruptured spleen and collapsed lung after repeatedly falling down a flight of stairs at the Beta Theta Pi house, following a booze-fueled initiation ritual that included a gantlet, where prosecutors say pledges were forced to drink large quantities of alcohol. No one called for emergency help until the next morning, nearly 12 hours later.

Eighteen fraternity members have been charged in Piazza’s death; their preliminary hearing continues in Bellefonte, Pa., later this month.