President’s Gala Provides Setting for Record $14.7M Fundraising Announcement
By Hazel Scott/ASU
The 2023 President’s Gala was the glamorous setting for the historic announcement of $14,734,880.00 million raised by Alabama State University over the past year. The one-year total is a record for ASU. Funds raised by the University are used to support student success and University strategic initiatives.
The Gala is a night of glitz, glamour and philanthropy, and serves as a platform to recognize donors and celebrate advancement initiatives that support the University and its mission of excellence in education, research and community engagement.
“WHERE HISTORY IS MADE”
The sold-out, black-tie event returned to the ASU campus on Friday, Sept. 1, at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome. Hundreds of guests from around the country donned their finest fashion to join the ASU family for a night of philanthropic recognition and celebration. The 2023 Gala’s theme was “Where History is Made.”
"We are grateful to our generous donors and corporate sponsors who have made the Gala a wonderful success," said President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. … “To everyone who gives for the benefit of our scholars, I would like to say ‘Thank you.’ Your contributions can change the trajectory of a student’s life. Thank you for the continuous support of Alabama State University. I want to give special thanks to the Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to sit at the helm of this prestigious institution… When I think about tonight’s theme, ‘Where History is Made,’ I have to say that I am who I am because of THE Alabama State University.”
Ross also thanked the Foundation Board, faculty, staff, students and alumni with a “shout out” to Crystal Moss and her staff and Donald Dotson and his team for helping make the night’s dazzling setup a success. “I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in making tonight great,” Ross added.
The evening included unforgettable entertainment by internationally acclaimed recording artist and violinist Brooke Alford and the Brooke Alford Experience Band, as well as a Broadway-style performance by dancers from ASU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance program with choreography by Quan Little, a graduate of the inaugural 2017 BFA in Dance class and the first African-American to own a Montgomery dance studio, “Symphony Q Academy of Dance.”
In keeping with the night’s theme, there were several short films highlighting ASU historymakers throughout the years, including storylines about “The Marion Nine,” “Jo Ann Robinson and her contributions to the Montgomery Bus Boycott,” “Getting Over the Finish Line,” and ASU leadership then and now.
Also, part of the annual touchtone event were four historymakers from the Theatre Department: Shanessa Sweeney, from Fox’s “The Resident,” and other shows; Yohance Myles, from OWN’s “Queen Sugar,” and other shows; Amber A. Harris, producer and assistant director for Amazon, and Apple, to name a few and the director of the short films at the Gala; and ASU professor of theater, Kendrick Hardy, who was in Spike Lee’s “Sun of The South.”
“When you look at the talent that was displayed here tonight, when you look at the talent we have on this campus, and the talent we have across the world, this is truly a place where history is made. We are not just saying it; it’s real,” Ross said.
The night continued with special recognitions of supporters and donors whose generosity over the past year raised them to the level of being highlighted ed at the Gala. They were: Coca-Cola Company ($200,000), Alabama Power Company Foundation ($200,000), Montgomery County Commission ($150,000), Honda Motor Company ($225,117), U.S. Department of Commerce ($2,999,695.37), U.S. Department of Education ($3,500,000.00), NTIA – Connect Minority Communities Pilot ($1,500,000.00), and Montgomery Community Action ($280,369.02).
The event also included the recognition of the newest members of the Marion Society, an initiative that allows donors who share a passion for ASU to leave a legacy to the University. Amber A. Harris, Jaunita Owes, Michael and Sandra Washington, Dr. Wislene John-Guiney, Elizabeth Ross, Judge Johnny Hardwick and Alfred Williams are leaving a combined legacy for ASU in the amount of $350,000.
“All our donors’ generosity makes it possible for many deserving students to receive a quality education. On behalf of the Office of Institutional Advancement and the Alabama State University Foundation, we say thank you,” said Col (ret) Gregory Clark. “…Let’s continue to make history.”
After the acknowledgements, guests continued their evening of fun and dancing in the ambiance of exquisite table scapes and floral displays fit for royalty.
Gala guests Jerry and Brenda Morris said this was their first Gala. Both are dual ASU graduates.
“It’s good to be back home. My love for ASU runs deep. I come from a long legacy of ASU Hornets. My mom graduated in 1964, and she still holds that ASU spirit. I met my beautiful wife at ASU…Seeing tonight with the generous donations, ASU students will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that we had.”
Mrs. Morris said ASU has afforded her the opportunity “to have a wonderful career at Blount Elementary School. That’s why I love ASU. When I went to ASU, it was just like home; it was a nurturing atmosphere. (ASU) helped shaped me into the person I am today.”
How to Give
For information on how you can support Alabama State University, contact the Office of Development at 334-229-5620 or asudevelopm