John Tesh and Award Winners Highlight Spirit of Hope 2011

The annual Spirit of Hope Celebrity Concert & Awards Gala once again featured an evening filled with elegance and entertainment in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. With over 500 guests in attendance, the event raised more than $100,000 toward the Student Scholarship Fund at HIU with more donations still being sent it.

John Tesh and His Big Band Orchestra thrilled the crowd with a wide variety of hits, from jazz to Frank Sinatra standards to worship songs. A six-time Emmy winner and two-time Grammy nominated artist, Tesh wowed the crowd on the piano while his band provided fantastic accompaniment. Later, Dr. Joseph Cho, Chairman of the HIU Music Department, closed out the night with an amazing rendition of “How Great Thou Art” accompanied by his wife Sung Wan Cho on piano.  

The Spirit of Hope Award was presented to Bertha Henry Taylor who has been involved with the University for many years. She served as the first woman on the HIU Board of Trustees and later as the Board’s first female chairperson. In an act of unbelievable generosity, one year Taylor sponsored all of the guests at the Spirit of Hope gala. She is beloved in San Clemente, her city of residence, where she has been dubbed “Mrs. San Clemente.” In 1978 she was named the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

For the second year, three churches were honored with the Supporting Church Awards for their dedicated and continuous support of HIU. This year’s recipients were Shepherd of the Hills in Porter Ranch, CA; Camarillo Christian Church; and Discovery Christian Church in Moreno Valley, CA. Together they have donated nearly $300,000 to Hope in the past six years. A select group of Hope graduates were also recognized for their ministry service domestically and internationally with the Alumni Missions Award: Christopher LaPel (MA ’94), Larry (BA ‘64) and Judy Niemeyer (BA ‘70), and Solidarity, which was founded by Executive Director Tommy Nixon (BA ’01) and other HIU alumni.

Hope welcomed Steven Welch (BA ’90) as the newest member of their athletics Hall of Fame. Welch played on the Pacific Christian College men’s basketball team from 1987-1990, during which the team produced a 90-27 record. Welch is currently seventh on the all-time scoring list with 1,530 points and third on the all-time rebounding list with 1,165 rebounds. He is in his 19th year of teaching at Commonwealth Elementary School in Fullerton, CA.

The evening was also filled with speakers. Dr. John Derry, President of HIU, cast a new vision for the future of the University in his keynote address as he presented updates on the development of CollegeTown, a collaborative project between HIU, the city of Fullerton, and CSU Fullerton. Students Christian Bass, Joscelyn Myers and Ricardo Mora spoke about how their lives have been impacted by attending HIU and Mora demonstrated his musical talent by playing “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano.

The Spirit of Hope gave guests the opportunity to hear firsthand how Hope is preparing servant to impact the world for Christ and how contributions to the University help HIU and its students continue to realize this goal.

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