The University of La Verne took the annual Scholarship Gala – traditionally a black tie dinner event – to a virtual realm this year, and still raised $605,000 in donations for the scholarship fund, exceeding the goal of $100,000 for Saturday’s event.
Students featured at the Gala shared why this fundraiser is so important for their college careers.
“I don’t ever look at donors as the money. I look at them as human beings, who are passionate about the future of students at La Verne,” said Shyonta Glothon, senior theater and psychology major.
Glothon said she met with some of the scholarship contributors over the years and has felt a connection.
“They know my situation and without them I wouldn’t have been able to study at the University,” Glothon said.
Other students shared similar personal plights.
“I didn’t know if I would be able to come to La Verne for another year,” said Angelyn Mendoza, senior anthropology major.
During her junior year, Mendoza considered taking out more loans, just dealing with the debt later.
She also considered taking a year off to earn enough to cover tuition.
But then she received two scholarships in time to return for her senior year.
“Being able to go to ULV despite having financial difficulties is the best gift,” Mendoza said.
President Devorah Lieberman thanked the more than 500 online attendees Saturday.
“You can not quarantine community,” said Lieberman. “We need to find ways to get together virtually – and that’s exactly what we did.”
University Trustee Wendy Lau, who worked on the event planning committee, said it was important to highlight student stories, this year in particular.
“Our students have resilience, passion and drive to do amazing things and I want people to know that,” Lau said. “I want people to see students’ faces and realize the lives they could change.”
Besides showcasing students the event celebrated the success of the planned six-year fundraising campaign, dubbed “Create the Future.”
The goal was to raise $125 million by 2021, and it met the goal early. Of the $128 million raised in total, $46.5 million went directly to scholarships, said Sherri Mylott, vice president of university advancement.
“Every single person that made a donation to this campaign whether it was $10 million or $10, your contribution made a critical difference for the future of the students and the future of this university,” Lieberman said.
Cheyenne Vargas can be reached at email@example.com.