ASU President's Gala Announces Record $8.7 Million Fundraising Total
By Hazel Scott/ASU
A sold-out crowd of more than 700 alumni and friends gathered on Friday, September 2, for Alabama State University’s Annual President’s Gala held at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center. The University’s Division of Institutional Advancement announced that more than $8.7 million had been raised since the 2021 Gala through sponsorships, donations and gifts.
“I thank the attendees for their support of ASU and the students,” said President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. “This annual event is in celebration of ASU’s donors, supporters and student scholars who directly benefit from the generosity of others.”
From its glamorous red carpet-like Pre-Gala reception to its award ceremony, the black-tie Gala was a festive evening with surprises and acknowledgments.
The night’s event paid a special tribute to the late Elton N. Dean, Sr., an ASU alumnus who was a former Chairman of the ASU Board of Trustees (BOT) and longtime Chairman of the Montgomery County Commission. The Alabama State University Distinguished Service Award was presented posthumously to Dean by Ross and current BOT President, Brenda Brown Dillard, in honor of Dean’s unwavering dedication and commitment to his alma mater. Dean’s family received the award on his behalf. The present Board of Trustees along with former BOT members, established a scholarship in Dean’s honor in June.
“Chairman Dean was committed to the advancement of ASU’s mission and vision. He truly embodied the best of that Ole ’Bama State Spirit. His legacy will live forever,” Ross said.
Another highlight of the evening was a surprise for six deserving ASU students. They were invited to the event and brought to the stage for a surprise reveal that the entirety of their balances to the University had been paid by ASU C.A.R.E.S., an initiative established by the Division of Institutional Advancement.
“As a University practice, it remains important to remove barriers that impede student success…We are grateful for our supporters’ efforts because they make a significant difference in the lives of well-deserving and academically talented students,” Ross remarked.
The evening is all about the generosity of our partners, said the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Col. Gregory Clark, said. “The more you give, and the more you invest, the more you help deserving students.”
The event also included the recognition of the newest members of the Marion Society, a legacy giving initiative that allows donors’ support to continue after they are deceased. Siblings Anthony Sims, Jr. and LaShawn Long joined the Marion Society with a legacy gift of $51,000.
During the Gala, President Ross not only gave special thanks to his administrative staff, Board members, ASU partners, sponsors, donors, guests, and entertainers who made the evening a great success, but he also welcomed two of ASU’s newest partners, the American Honda Motor Company which gave a first-time donation of $300,000 and KPMG which made an investment of $750,000 to the University.
The largest single donation announcement was an investment of more than $3.5 million from the Department of Education.
The night’s entertainment included a special dance performance by alumni of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, local band Souled Out Groove, DJ Meek and the incredible sounds of three-time Grammy-nominated National R&B recording artist Raheem DeVaughn.
The premiere event was part of ASU’s in-person Labor Day Classic events, where COVID-19 safety protocols established last year were followed.
“This event provides recognition of the valuable support for our University’s mission to make lives better. Whether you support students or faculty and staff development, or unique University programs, your investment preserves the legacy of this University, the jewel in the crown of public higher education in Alabama. Expect excellence and support excellence,” Ross added.
Major Sponsors and Donors
Alabama Broadcasters Association Educational Foundation $50,000
McNeil Family Foundation $100,000
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc. $120,000
Alabama Power Company Foundation $150,000
Montgomery County Commission $150,000
Alabama Association of Realtors $250,000
Honda Motor Company, Inc. $300,000
Department of Education $3,530,000
Labarron N. Boone
Annie M. Garraway $25,000
HBCU Change, LLC
Anthony Sims, Jr. and LaShawn Long $51,000