2013 President’s Gala Enjoys Sold Out Crowd, Raising Money, Spectacular Entertainment
More than 720 guests attended Texas Southern University’s 2013 President’s Gala at the Westin Galleria Hotel. Attendees packed the ballroom for an elegant evening celebrating the University and community.
Mistress of Ceremonies Melanie Lawson of KPRC-TV led the program, which acknowledged 13 Chapter Alumni of the year and 12 alumni and community partners. Dr. John Rudley, president of Texas Southern, spoke of the University’s latest achievements including increased academic performance of the entering freshman class, and new programs like Maritime Transportation, Entertainment Industry, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Six alumni were honored at the event: top entertainment lawyer Ricky Anderson; vice president at KTRK TV, Winfred Frazier; lifetime Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer Dale Long; pharmacist Alice Mendoza; general manager at William P. Hobby Airport Perry Miller; and Houston businessman and president of the Houston Black Realtors Association Gerald Womack.
Community Partners included Keith Davis of d-mars; Reverend William A. Lawson and his wife Audrey Lawson, who received the trailblazers award; CenterPoint Energy’s Vice President of Corporate Communications Floyd LeBlanc accepted the organizations Community Partner Award; Port of Houston Authority Chair Janiece Longoria accepted the Port for the creation of TSU’s Maritime & Transportation and Management Program; Houston Endowment President Ann Stern, accepted the award in support of TSU’s University Urban Academic Village; and the Innovative Leadership Award was presented to Roosevelt and Marlene Petry for establishing an endowed scholarship fund and support of 10 TSU’s President’s Leadership Scholarships. Petry and his wife Marlene donated a customized barbeque pit to be used by on campus students. The duet also served more than 1,000 students and alumni at TSU’s tailgating on Saturday.
Special guest U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee briefly spoke about the contributions of the University and its alumni to the community. U.S. Congressman Al Green was also in attendance at the event.
The evening included several musical performances. Natalie Foreman, class of 2011 and Vincent Powell, class of 2010 and American Idol finalist each performed. The evening closed with a concert by Regina Belle, Howard Hewitt and Chris Walker. The show was customized for Texas Southern University by Walker Entertainment Group, Ernest Walker, President.
The event raised more than $200,000 in scholarships for students at Texas Southern University. “It is humbling to see the degree to which the community comes together to support our students and our University,” said Rudley. “On behalf of our students, I thank everyone who came out to celebrate with us.”
“The event was fabulous and we want to invite everyone back to our 2014 President’s Gala and remind all to get your tables and sponsorships early. We estimated that more than 40 individuals were turned away due to a sellout of this event,” stated Eva Pickens, TSU’s Associate Vice President, Communications and Marketing. “To assure your seat at next year’s event, we will accept reservations and sponsorships early. All you have to do is give us a call.”