Foundation’s 36th annual Dream Gala raises over $442,000

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Through the generosity of over 400 attendees, the Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida's 36th annual Dream Gala raised over $442,000 for student scholarships, faculty program support and areas of greatest need throughout the College.

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The gala, presented by Addition Financial, was held at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. Inspired by the event falling on leap day, an extra day every four years, this year’s theme focused on asking attendees what they will do with that extra day. Would they make one more gift to help a student complete one more class to earn her degree? Would they help a student who needs one more chance at pursuing his dreams by providing emergency aid so he can focus on his academic needs? Would they be the one more person our students need?

A video testimonial of Chris Ward, a Seminole State student working toward a bachelor's degree in construction, revealed how he has been able to overcome his hardships in life to develop a resilience that now thrives and inspires. With a young daughter at home, he knew he needed to step up and be a role model. “The desire to be the best father I could ever be drove me to Seminole State. I knew I had to get a better career,” said Ward. Due to his determined nature, and the support from the Foundation, he was able to refocus on his education and show his daughter how important education is and be someone she could always look up to as a role model.

The Foundation set a new record for direct giving (without matching gift) during the scholarship auction segment, totaling over $100,000 in scholarship assistance.

“This one extra day of 2020 was more than just an additional 24 hours; it was truly a day all about changing lives! We asked our donors to help provide one more book, one more class, and one more scholarship and they answered in such a meaningful way,” said Dr. John Gyllin, vice president of Resource and Economic Development and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College. “Their support shows our students they have one more person in their corner, supporting them and cheering them on as they pursue their dreams.” Other highlights of the evening included silent and live auctions filled with a variety of luxury items and experiences, a scholarship auction and a gourmet dinner. Entertainment was provided by Midnight Mayhem. Seminole State music students provided a special performance of “One More Day” by Chicago.

The Dream Gala included two raffle drawings. The first lucky winner received $30,000 toward the purchase of a new vehicle from one of several participating dealerships, donated by Central Florida Auto Dealers Association. The second lucky winner received a NutriChef 18-bottle dual zone thermoelectric wine cooler and a $250 gift certificate to purchase the wine of their choice  graciously donated by Tim’s Wine Market Lake Mary/Sanford. 

Since its inception, the Foundation’s annual Dream Gala has raised over $6 million in support of Seminole State. To donate to the Foundation, visit the Foundation home page and click the "Be a Donor" button. You can also connect with the Foundation on Facebook.

About Seminole State College

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit
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About the Foundation for Seminole State College

The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit or email the Foundation directly at