ThunderBolt - Alumni & Friends Newsletter

February / March 2013

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Annual scholarship gala sets record for fundraising, attendance


Black and white has perhaps never been as bright as it was Feb. 9 when the 10th annual Black and White Scholarship Gala brought in more than $300,000 — a record — and boasted the highest–ever attendance, too, with 365 guests.

Ice sculpture
Festive evening

The annual event is Trine’s premier fundraiser for scholarships and has raised a total of more than $1 million for scholarships.

“That record means over $300,000 goes directly to our students,” said Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D. “Ninety–eight percent of Trine students receive some form of institutional scholarship or financial aid, and funds raised at the gala will go a long way toward helping students.”

A video presentation early in the evening featured four Trine students who heralded the importance of scholarships and offered heartfelt thanks to generous donors. One student said her dreams of college were dashed after the death of her father, but Trine and its scholarship program are making her dreams possible. Another student, who spent part of one semester living in her car, said she would not be graduating this spring if it weren’t for the Books and Beyond Scholarship.

Trine’s Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Athletic and Recreation Center was disguised under a cascade of glimmering tulle and miniature white lights and a perimeter of flowing black, satiny curtains. The venue provided ample space for four sets of tables more than 12 feet long and 3 feet wide brimming with items for the silent auction, nearly 40 tables for guests, stations for wine tasting and a stage area for a live band.

Gala overall
Inside the "ARC"

Guests decked in formalwear imbibed in samples of wine from Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano, Fort Wayne, and appetizers by Bon Appetit Management Co. ¬†Guests were treated to a savory mix of appetizers that were neatly arranged around a shimmering ice sculpture that featured hearts.

Silent auction items offered guests plenty to see as they sipped wine and enjoyed conversation against a backdrop of live music from Trine’s Jazz Band, under the direction of Christopher Lizak.

Before guests settled into black, cushioned chairs at round tables, many had already placed bids on silent auction items. As guests nibbled at salad and bread, Mike McNamara, master of ceremonies and retired communication professor, welcomed everyone to the evening event. Alexandrea Adair Siaya, a sophomore civil engineering major from Lincoln, Mich., shared highlights of her experience at Trine.

Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) quickly got the live auction in progress when he offered Books and Beyond Scholarships that students with financial need may use for textbooks, computers, school and lab supplies and meals. Trine has more than met a $35,000 matching grant from Metal Technologies Foundation, which translates to at least 140 scholarships at $500 apiece. As in past years, Trine alumnus and trustee Rick L. James, and his wife, Vicki, initiated the matching grant, which was $10,000 more than was offered last year.

Trine Jazz band
Trine Jazz Band

Throughout the evening, the live auction caught the attention of guests who bid on vacations, spa retreats, luxury jewelry and more. Before dinner and between courses, guests could place bids in a silent auction that featured more than 200 items ranging from getaways to antique pieces to sports memorabilia.

Also helping to make the night a success were Trine’s baseball, men’s lacrosse and golf and women’s golf teams.

Dinner featured beef tenderloin and chicken breast over a fluffy bed of quinoa and wild rice with baby zucchini and summer squash that some commented to be the cutest little veggies ever seen. Just as guests hated to take the last bites of their chocolate cappuccino cheesecake with chocolate-covered coffee beans, they also appeared to not want the night to end.

“This was certainly a record-setting event and I’m looking forward to what we’ll accomplish next year,” Brooks said. “I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of Trine’s supporters and friends.”

Next year the event is scheduled for Feb. 8.