Scholarship gala breaks fundraising, attendance records

by Samantha Stark

The university’s largest annual fundraising event proved it can get even bigger.

Previously known as the Founders Scholarship Gala, the 8th Annual Spring Scholarship Gala saw a record-breaking attendance of 343 Saturday and raised over $167,000 — more than the past seven years combined.

The Alumni Foundation hosts the event each year to provide the F-M community and MSUM alumni, faculty and staff the opportunity to support students through scholarships.

This year’s gala featured a social hour of champagne and hors d’oeuvres, an address from scholarship recipients, live and silent auctions and a mystery wine sale, with the net proceeds given as scholarships to current and incoming MSUM students.

“It was a phenomenal event this year,” Meghan Feir, Alumni Foundation’s marketing and communications specialist, said. “It was the most energy we’ve ever see at the gala. It was fun to be a part of.”

Due to an unexpected amount of funds raised at this year, the Alumni Foundation decided to increase the quantity and broaden the type of scholarships awarded for next year.

Several additional scholarships based on need, merit, academic and athletic success were added. The exact amount that will be awarded throughout the next academic year is currently undecided.

“When we saw the potential for the gala continue to grow, we decided to expand the impact it would have on students by expanding the types of scholarships that would be funded,” Anna Miller, Alumni Foundation’s director of annual giving, said.

The gala was founded in 2006 by former MSUM President Edna Szymanski. It awarded the Founders Scholarship of $2,500 to roughly 10 students each year. Prior to this year, the event awarded over 60 scholarships totaling more than $150,000.

“I think the event is growing because people are more aware … of the need for student scholarships,” Feir said. “(Education is) expensive, but also a priority. So it’s important for alumni and the community members to be able to help students fund their education. Every little bit counts.”

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