Posted: October 1, 2012
Over 500 alumni, friends and guests of Hope International University gathered for the annual Spirit of Hope Celebrity Concert & Awards Gala on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at the Disneyland Hotel. The event raised more than $130,000 toward the Student Scholarship Fund with additional donations still being collected.
The evening got off to a great start with Tim Kepler singing “God Bless America” and the Fullerton Police Department Color Guard presenting the colors. Then the Archie Thompson Quintet took the stage in The Grand Ballroom and performed their signature live jazz.
The headliner for the night was American Idol finalist, Scott MacIntyre, who delighted the crowd as he played piano and sang a number of songs including one from his new album, Heartstrings. He also spoke about living by faith and not by sight, a sentiment particularly significant for MacIntyre as he is legally blind. MacIntyre shared his thoughts on the evening, saying, "I was thoroughly inspired by the Spirit of Hope gala and the incredible work that HIU is doing in the world."
President John L. Derry’s message highlighted the power of Hope, sharing personal accounts of individuals who have been positively impacted by the University. He also spoke about the University’s future as the CollegeTown development project in Fullerton progresses and HIU’s enrollment numbers continue to climb. Earlier, featured student speaker, senior Kristi Salmeron Meneses, recounted being led to Christ and HIU by two alumni in her hometown in Oregon.
Spirit of Hope was also a time to honor those who had exemplified hope, service, and contribution to the community. This year the Spirit of Hope award went to three exceptional individuals – Floyd Strater, LeRoy Fulton, and John Rowe. These men have each devoted their lives to the mission of HIU which is to empower students through Christian higher education to serve the church and impact the world for Christ. They have served tirelessly with their time, resources, and hearts and are owed a great debt of gratitude. Two church awards were also presented, one to Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV, and one to Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas. Together the two churches have donated nearly $360,000 to HIU and its students.
In recognition of his time on the men’s soccer team from 1995 – 1998, Donald Laing was inducted into the Royals Athletic Hall of Fame. While playing for HIU, Laing was named NCCAA National Player of the Year in 1998 and was a 1st Team NCCAA All American from 1996 to 1998. As the Royals’ Team Captain from 1996 to 1998, he holds the HIU Men’s Soccer record for assists and is in the top three for all-time goals scored.
Spirit of Hope left individuals with a renewed sense of where the University is as well as where it is going. HIU is grateful to all in attendance for their support of the University and its goals to impact students’ lives, which will in turn impact their families, their communities, and the world.