Celebrate Hope

A Celebratory Evening

On Friday October 16, 2009, more than 500 alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students arrived at the beautiful Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim, CA, to support the university at the annual Celebrate Hope Dinner. Dave Poole, VP for Institutional Advancement, emceed the event which kicked off with an invocation by HIU Board Chairman, Tim Winters and a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” led by Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby. This year’s theme of “Reach for the Stars” focused on overcoming great challenges in order to achieve great success. This sentiment was echoed in the University Update from President John Derry, and highlighted by “Stars of Hope” students Allyson Hinkle, David Anderson, and Judy Nzeki. Board Members Chuck Puckett and Julie Kuns, also an HIU alum, shared from the heart why they support HIU and challenged the crowd to give to student scholarships. Dr. Christopher Gillette and Dr. Joseph Cho of the Pacific Christian College Music Department entertained and wowed the crowd with their musical talents. Dr. Cho absolutely delighted the crowd with his rendition of “You Raise Me Up”, a touching song made popular by singer, Josh Groban.

Buzz Aldrin, legendary astronaut, explorer, scientist, and American hero, was the keynote speaker for the dinner. Dr. Aldrin gave an intriguing speech on his own experiences of overcoming challenges and his great successes in space travel. Dr. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo XI moon walk in 1969, thus becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. Today, Dr. Aldrin continues to share his vision for the future of space travel with today’s youth by authoring his first illustrated children’s book “Reaching for the Moon” (Harper Collings, 2005). He has authored two space novels, an autobiography, a bestselling historical documentary, “Men from Earth” (Bantam, 1989), and a New York Times bestseller “Magnificent Desolation” (Harmony, 2009).

The Spirit of Hope Award is presented annually at the Celebrate Hope Dinner and is given to those who express ideal character, integrity, concern for others, the ability to inspire hope and for their contribution to the church and community. This year’s recipient is Dr. Mitch Hovey, Superintendent of the Fullerton School District. Since Dr. Hovey took the helm in 2007, he and his team continue to lead the state in meeting the learning needs of all students and keep the focus on children.

Michael Mulryan, HIU’s Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “The Celebrate Hope Dinner was again a great evening for the University and the students who benefit from the more than $130,000 scholarship dollars raised as a result of this event.”