With more than 400 guests in attendance, the Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida raised a record-breaking $436,000 during its annual Dream Gala at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary on Feb. 24. The proceeds benefit students, programs and other areas of need at the College.
“Our community stepped up again in a huge way for Seminole State,” said Dr. John Gyllin, vice president of resource and economic development and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State. “This was the best and highest grossing Dream Gala in our 34-year history… I am overwhelmed by the truly inspiring commitment to education. It’s a testament to the mission of our College, the incredible students we serve, and the powerful legacy of our president, Dr. E. Ann McGee.”
Jorge Estevez, WFTV Channel 9 news anchor, served as master of ceremonies for the sold-out, James Bond-themed event, which featured a reception, a formal dinner, live music by Seminole State’s Weldon Street Jazz Band, live and silent auctions, a scholarship auction and a car raffle.
During the gala, video testimonials, featuring Seminole State students and scholarship recipients Lauren Dodds and David Brooks were presented to the audience to illustrate the impact of donors’ financial support to the College. Brooks is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing, to honor his brother who was killed in the line of duty serving as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. Dodds is working toward a bachelor’s degree in business and information management, where she enrolled to gain knowledge and experience to start a babysitting company.
Leading into the scholarship auction, Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee, indulged guests in “a trip down memory lane” as she recalled her first Dream Gala in 1996 and thanked those who have supported the College through the years.
“Tonight, we’re going to tell you that we’re at $32 million in assets for the Foundation, but because we’ve continued to give back to the College…it’s been a $70 million impact that you all have had,” McGee said.
With generous donations from supporters in the audience, including the establishment of an endowed scholarship by Next Horizon, and match-pledges from the Private Business Association of Seminole County (PBAS), which matched all donations at the $500 scholarship level, and CFE Federal Credit Union, which provided a $25,000 match for overall scholarship donations, the scholarship auction raised over $100,000.
Also contributing to the Dream Gala’s success was the car raffle, featuring a 2018 Toyota Camry XSE provided by the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association (CFADA). Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma drew the ticket for the car raffle, revealing Aurelio Posada from HuntonBrady Architects as the winner. Maurizio Maso, design principal at HuntonBrady, who sold the winning ticket accepted the car on Posada’s behalf.
The gala also included a wine raffle, featuring 28 bottles of premium wines; and a live auction with luxurious items, including a seven-day, six-night stay at a Marriott Hotel anywhere in the world and a VIP experience to a Justin Timberlake concert.
In its history, the Dream Gala has raised over $5 million in support for Seminole State.
To view more photos of this event, please visit the Seminole State College Facebook page.
About the Foundation for Seminole State College: The Foundation is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to enhancing Seminole State College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. To give to the Foundation, visit the Foundation home page and click the Be a Donor button. You can also connect with the Foundation on Facebook.