From Jim Hemsath, UAAAA Vice President:
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, was a date to remember as over 400 alumni, friends and fans of the University of Alaska Anchorage filled the ballroom at the Marriott to honor our three Alumni of Distinction, to connect with friends and to generally have a good time and support the university. This year’s Green and Gold Gala started off in excellent form with champagne and music provided by our University Jazz Ensemble and a whole lot of green and gold finery.
The mission of the Alumni Association is to connect our alumni, to advocate for the university and to support our students. These principles guide us as we plan the gala, and the support over the past three years has been an outstanding validation of our intent. At our first gala in 2010, 220 friends gathered as we raised $25,000 for scholarships and inducted our first class of Alumni of Distinction. Last year, with over 300 in attendance, we were able to raise over $50,000 in support of scholarships and contribute for the first to time to our scholarship endowment fund, creating a legacy for alumni scholarships.
Our Alumni of Distinction award this year was a representation of the northern lights, inspiration to artists such as Sydney Laurence and poets such as Robert Service, an icon of Alaska, just as our Alumni of Distinction are icons for the future of the university. The northern lights were certainly dancing that night as we honored Alumni of Achievement Carol Comeau, Alumni Humanitarian Roald Helgesen and Emerging Alumni Leader Candice McDonald for their past achievement and achievements yet to come.
Inspired by these leaders this year, our event exceeded all our expectations as we were able to raise through sponsorships, donations and our auction more than $75,000 in support of our students and our future alumni and our scholarship program. It was a huge success that would not have been possible without all the help, assistance and participation from our University Jazz Ensemble, the University Glee Club, members of Alpha Sigma Alpha and Kappa Sigma, our auctioneer Rayne Reynolds and the most awesome support from University Advancement and Alumni Relations.
We came together in fellowship, but fellowship with a purpose. I am constantly amazed, impressed and, most importantly, humbled by the outpouring of support and affection from our Seawolf family for its university. UAA has an important role to play in our lives, the lives of our communities and the future of the state. We have, as alumni, a great responsibility to help, support and lead our university.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received—and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” He was speaking of our national parks, but it is a sentiment that is truly applicable to our relationship as alumni with our university. It was a great night to be a Seawolf!