ALBANY, Ga. – A lively and energetic atmosphere proved to be the best setting for raising funds for student scholarships. Albany State University alumni and supporters raised $30,600 for need-based scholarships at Saturday’s “Party with a Purpose” benefit held at the prestigious Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta.
“This is a proud day for ASU,” President Art Dunning said to a group of nearly 160 alumni and supporters. “The future of the university depends on the people in this room.”
The event, held in collaboration with the Tom Joyner Foundation, was the first of many university initiatives for the Tom Joyner School of the Month campaign. As the November School of the Month, the TJF will promote raising funds for the university and highlight its programs for the entire year. ASU will be featured daily during the month of November.
During the live auction, Greg Hylick, president of the ASU Foundation, made a successful bid of $4,000 on an exclusive Leroy Campbell original painting. Dunning and first-lady Karen Baynes-Dunning were so inspired, they committed another $4,000 to support need-based scholarships. A silent auction that featured original artwork by ASU students was also a great success, with many of the pieces earning more than $100 bids.
“Much like the band’s performance in Pasadena, the student artwork was just another shining example of how talented ASU students are,” said Chanta Haywood, ASU vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the ASU Foundation. “They need our support to nurture that talent so that they may graduate and inspire future generations.”
Co-hosts, television actress JoMarie Payton and the Honorable Glenda Hatchett, Atlanta attorney and star of the former “Judge Hatchett” television show, helped to reinforce the importance of giving by making donations of their own.
After hearing about the upcoming groundbreaking for the ASU Fine Arts Center, Payton wrote a check for $500 toward fine arts scholarships.
“The young people that we support with our donations are the biggest investment we can make in our lives,” said Payton, a native Albanian.
“We don’t want to look back and say we wish we would have done a little more,” said Hatchett, who served as the 2014 Spring Commencement speaker at Albany State. “We are claiming extraordinary things for ASU. We have work to do, and it’s on our collective shoulders to get it done.”
Fitting the occasion, a $2,500 scholarship was presented to social work major, Debra Rucks. The inaugural scholarship is part of the $25,000 endowment by Virginia Harris and family, in honor of her husband, Keith Harris.
“Ms. Rucks will likely graduate on time and begin helping her community as a result of this generous donation,” Haywood said. “All donations matter, no matter the size. Collectively, small amounts add up to make large differences and that's something to celebrate.”
“Party with a Purpose” was the first event in ASU’s “Week of Giving” initiative, which began Saturday, March 26 and will culminate on Founder’s Day, Friday, April 1. The “Week of Giving” is an invitation to students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends to give back through donations and personal involvement. To make a donation, visit giveto.asurams.edu.
Photo caption: Greg Hylick, ASU alumnus and president of the ASU Foundation, (right) receives an original painting by artist Leroy Campbell (left) after bidding $4,000 during a live auction at Saturday’s “Party with a Purpose” benefit in Atlanta. Photo credit: Reginald Christian