In spring 2020 the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) anticipated hosting its 9th annual Going for the Gold Gala at the Westin Galleria on April 25 however COVID-19 set in and caused the event to be postponed. Each year the gala is an important fundraising event for the LHSON and missing a year would mean less funds for our most critical needs at the nursing school such as scholarships for nursing students who are called to serve those in need. Striving to be compliant and relevant, we instead hosted a virtual gala on November 12, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The live stream online event captured 200 viewers and included a week-long silent auction and live auction on the night of the virtual gala.
Amidst the challenging year, the 2020 virtual gala surpassed silent auction fundraising totals from the previous two years raising more than $27,000 from 124 silent auction items, plus raising over $51,000 from 11 live auction items. Overall, combining the gala sponsorships, silent and live auctions, Fund-the-Need giving opportunities and registration gifts the 2020 gala raised approximately $613,000. Since the debut of the inaugural gala in 2012, the Going for the Gold Gala has become a transformational fundraising event for the LHSON raising over $5 million.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted the integral role nurses have in healthcare, and donor support makes it possible for so many of our students to become Baylor nurses,” said Dr. Linda Plank, Interim Dean, LHSON. “Ironically, this year the World Health Organization declared 2020 as the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife” coinciding the 200th birthday of the founder of modern-day nursing, Florence Nightingale. We also proudly celebrated the LHSON’s 110th birthday and Baylor University’s 175th birthday during this memorable year. So, with humble reflection we recognize there are so many reasons to celebrate especially nursing students who persevere through all the many challenges to obtain their education. This virtual gala allowed us to show our united support of our future Baylor nurses as they exemplify our school motto, Learn.Lead.Serve.®.”
The virtual gala included pre-show entertainment for online guests starting at 6:30 p.m. with videos of thanks from current LHSON nursing students as well as live auction bidding instructions. Launching into the 9th annual Going for the Gold Virtual Gala at 7 p.m., Mary Ann Hill, Gala Chair, served as Master of Ceremonies. The streaming video offered remarks from Texas Governor Greg Abbott along with other special guests including: Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, President of Baylor University; Coach Kim Mulkey; Derek Haas, TV and Film Writer; and Noah Galloway, Author and Veteran, plus Laura Cordova, LHSON grad. The final portion of the virtual gala included a live auction with professional auctioneer, Wes Pool from Murad Auctions. The virtual gala included a silent and live auction as well as Fund-the-Need giving opportunities.
Support from sponsors, underwriters and volunteers remains crucial every year. Special thanks to all those who helped us transition this year from the postponed in-person gala in April to a virtual gala in November including: Mary Ann Hill, Gala event chair, 83 volunteers of the Gala Task Force Committee, 37 members of the Dean’s Board of Advocates and 47 Gala Student Ambassadors. As of October 30, 2020, Gala sponsors and underwriters included the following.
Grand Gala Host
Linda and Harold Gilbert
Baylor Scott & White Health/Baylor University Medical Center; Dr. D.M. Edwards, Laurie and Mark Nielsen
Barnabas Foundation/Anita Jones; Interstate Batteries, Inc.; Texas Farm Bureau; Angela and Brad Bowman; Marie and John Chiles in honor of Suzii and Ben March (Invitation Underwriter); Suzanne and Tom Martin; The Honorable Ken and Alice Starr; Pam and Mike Jones; Georganna L. Simpson; Wanda and David Stovall; Lois and Dexter Ward; Karen and Richard Willis
Baylor Bookstore (Printed Program Underwriter); Mednax Services, Inc. (Special Underwriter); The Ginger Murchison Foundation; Beck Group; Central Market; Children’s Health; Medical City Healthcare; Patterson+Sheridan, LLP; Texas Baptists; Texas Scottish Rite for Children; Tradition Senior Living (Table Decorations Underwriter); Velocity Mazda of Tyler (Gala Gift Underwriter); Penny and Dan Vineyard (Public Relations Underwriter); Terri W. Heard and Nancy Nollner Withrow (Special Underwriter); Kelly and Joe Armes; Susan and Gary Baker; Brenda and Bob Barkley in honor of LHSON student missionaries to Zambia; Merrie and Sparkey Beckham; Marilyn and John Bedwell; Rita and Carl Bonds; Ellen Byrd in memory of C. Robert (Bob) Byrd; Joy and Steve Cobb; Peyton and Jose Gutierrez; Kari and Stephen Haywood; Patty and Mark Lovvorn; Megan and James Mowad; Lydia and James Perry; Catherine and Steve Raffaele; Paula and Steve Reynolds; Laurie and Jay Sedwick; Sandra Stoesser Wallace; Debbie and Jeff Wooley
Golden Watch Party Hosts
Baylor University Executive MBA Program – Dallas (Special Underwriter); Eastfield College; Overtone Financial Corporation; Prosperity Bank; Texas Bank and Trust; UnitedHealthCare; Marsha and Danny Bowlin; Lawren and Dominic Edwards; Mary Ann and Doug Hill; Felda and Dan Heard; Sherry McCray (Special Underwriter); Dr. Kathryn Tinius and Dr. Lisa Stepp; Richard A. Woodall and Friends.
Past Going for the Gold Galas have featured champion athletes and celebrities such as: Sean Lee, #50 Dallas Cowboys linebacker and his wife Megan Lee (2019 gala); Former First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush, and Dr. Linda Livingstone, President of Baylor University (2018 gala); Derek Haas, co-creator and executive producer of NBC's hit television series Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med and Chicago Justice (2017 gala); Noah Galloway, a wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom U.S. Army war veteran hero and finalist on the TV program, “Dancing with the Stars" along with Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver (2016 gala); Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RGIII) and former Baylor linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer, Mike Singletary (2015 gala); America's gold medal legend Mary Lou Retton (2014 gala); former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith (2013 gala) and Baylor's championship-winning women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey who joined former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman (2012 inaugural gala).