By: Value News | Category: Education | Issue: April 2012
Preparing for an evening of Mardi Gras fun are (L to R): Carlene Weber, committee member; Marisa Littlefield, Brandi Sutherland, Shonna Payne and Amanda Faught, RSU office of development staff; and Tonni Harrald, RSU director of annual giving and events.
A grand parade, Dixieland jazz, and Creole food, along with exciting live and silent auctions, will highlight the annual Rogers State University Foundation Scholarship Auction and Dinner on April 20. The New Orleans-style evening will be full of fun as the foundation celebrates with a Mardi Gras theme in the RSU Centennial Center at Claremore.
Since its inception eight years ago, the foundation fundraiser has raised more than $300,000 for student scholarships, according to Tonni Harrald, RSU director of annual giving and events. “The sole purpose of this event is to raise money for RSU students at all three of our campuses,” says Harrald. RSU’s main campus is in Claremore with satellite campuses in Pryor and Bartlesville.
Admission to the event is $30 per person, while a table for eight can be reserved for $300. The event is open to the public. Over 400 attended last year’s event, which netted the foundation $72,000.
Participants will also have an opportunity to win $5,000. “We are selling chances at $50 each,” she says. “However, only 300 will be sold.” Tickets are now on sale. The winner will be drawn that night.
Event sponsorships, ranging from $500 to $5,000, are also available. Key Construction Oklahoma LLC and Pelco Structural have signed on as presenting sponsors.
Bidding on silent auction items will begin at 5:30 p.m. “We anticipate having 125 to 150 silent auction items this year,” Harrold adds. “Last year, we had approximately 22 live auction items, including jewelry, gift baskets from area businesses, and gift certificates for services and products. We have something for everyone, from $5 to $5,000.”
Rick Reimer will be auctioning off the live auction items during the evening. “We are so excited about the items already donated,” says Harrald.
Items already confirmed include a wine tasting for 12, contributed by Bud Hill; a custom men’s suit by Tom James Company, contributed by Bob and Virginia Sherrer; a deer hunt for two on the Robson Ranch, contributed by Frank and Ludmila Robson; a dinner party for 10 to 12 for a four-course meal, prepared by award-winning chef Linda Coons; two Southwest Airline tickets to anywhere Southwestern flies, contributed by Southwestern Airlines; and a steak dinner for 30 at the Ingersoll Ranch, contributed by Kay and Win Ingersoll.
Other live auction items secured to date include a three-day sailing trip for four in North Carolina on a 43-foot sailboat, fully crewed. All meals are provided as well as two round-trip airline tickets, contributed by Captain Les and Suzanne Pendleton and Jim and Kay Harrison. Nash and Dana Lamb have also contributed four nights at the Hyatt Mountain Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colorado. “It is a very nice two bedroom condo, and the trip is scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving,” says Harrald.
Lori Fullbright, KOTV anchor, will emcee the event, and is also contributing a live auction item for 10 people to attend and view the five o’clock news and tour the station.
Local 12-year-old artist Emily Mooney will once again contribute one of her art pieces. “She is a very talented artist and has designed a piece for the auction every year,” says Harrald.
“This is one of the largest single fundraising events in Claremore,” she continues. “Hundreds of students have benefitted through the years because of the generosity of businesses and individuals who care about higher education and this university. Lives have truly been changed.”