In one night, the Foundation for Seminole State College raised a record of nearly $325,000 for scholarships and other academic support for the College.
More than 375 people, including prominent community and business leaders, attended the sold-out 30th annual Dream Gala on Feb. 15.
“The Dream Gala has exceeded our expectations in our efforts to change students’ lives,” said Dr. John Gyllin, Foundation executive director. “I believe our fundraising success is due to the caring and compassionate community of supporters who are inspired by what Seminole State is able to offer for our students, our neighbors and throughout Central Florida.”
The College's biggest fundraiser, themed “30 Rocks,” took place at the Orlando Marriot Lake Mary.
In special recognition of the event’s 30th anniversary, the evening featured remarks by Gerry Weldon, wife of founding President Dr. Earl Weldon. Gerry Weldon was escorted to the stage by her grandson, Christopher Weldon, a freshman at Seminole State. In a video tribute, the Foundation also saluted Dream Gala co-founder Dede Schaffner and Sally Moore, a long-time supporter. Schaffner, a Seminole County School Board member and former Seminole State trustee, also serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Schaffner, her late husband, Bill, and the late Art Grindle founded the Dream Gala in 1984.
Moore and her family’s company, Sunniland Corp., has been a sponsor of all 30 Dream Galas. Sunniland Corp. was the presenting sponsor.
In a lead up to the scholarship auction, a procession of 30 students directly impacted by the Foundation’s scholarships entered the ballroom, carrying signs that announced their “dreams.”
Scott McKenzie, radio host at MIX 105.1, served as master of ceremonies, guiding guests through a formal dinner, a live and silent auction, high-end jewelry raffle and a grand prize raffle featuring a 2014 Ford Escape, donated by the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, Inc.
All proceeds from the event benefit Seminole State student scholarships, faculty programs and other areas of need at the College. To date, the Dream Gala has raised $3 million for the College and its students.
The Orlando-based band FunHouse was on hand for musical entertainment, and a diamond-topped ice sculpture added to the mix.