Posted: November 1, 2021
Friday, October 29, 2021, marked Hope International University’s long-awaited return of our annual Spirit of Hope Concert & Awards Gala (after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID-19). More than 400 HIU alumni and friends gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Resort Hotel for an elegant evening of celebration, inspiration, and philanthropy. This year, the University’s signature event raised more than $220,000 for student scholarships, shattering previous Gala records. The 2021 program highlighted HIU’s rich legacy of ministry and Restoration Movement roots, and honored individuals and organizations that embody and exemplify the “Spirit of Hope.”
HIU President, Dr. Paul H. Alexander (‘84, ‘88), delivered his “State of the University” address, citing God’s blessings and provision throughout the pandemic. President Alexander also presented HIU’s highest honor, The Spirit of Hope Award, to Doug Crozier, CEO of the Solomon Foundation, for his advocacy and financial support of HIU and its mission. Christ’s Church of the Valley (Phoenix, AZ) received the Supporting Church Award for their exceptional generosity and financial commitment to HIU.
Current HIU students Siera Pedroza and Logan Schneider each shared their poignant personal journeys to Hope, and how attending HIU has impacted their lives and shaped their futures. Pedroza, a senior, is Captain of the HIU Royals Women’s Soccer Team and is on the cusp of becoming a first-generation college graduate. Schneider, a junior, shared a glimpse into his traumatic childhood, and his resulting battles with major depression. Both students thanked donors helping to underwrite scholarships that made it possible for them to afford HIU.
A panel of notable alumni in ministry – Steve Carter (’02), Pete Contreras (’88), Rudy Hagood (‘06, ‘19), Ashley Wooldridge (’99) – fielded questions from current Ministry Honors Program students, reflecting on HIU’s continuing impact on their personal lives and their public ministries. Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to Kevin Mo Wong ( ‘02) for his servant leadership through his role of Executive Director at Solidarity, and to Vonda Hamilton (BA ‘01) for her lifelong commitment and ministry to the deaf community.
Alumnus Byron Burns (BA ’94) sang several songs throughout the program and shared how his HIU education and experience prepared him for a lifetime of worship ministry. Guests also enjoyed musical performances from the HIU Worship Team, directed by Matt Thompson, Professor & Chair of Worship Arts.
Prior to the program and dinner, guests gathered for a pre-event reception, enjoying hors d’oeuvres, live music, student ambassadors, and a special photo op with Mickey Mouse.
A heartfelt thank you to all of HIU’s faithful and generous supporters whose donations make it possible for students to attend and earn their degree at Hope. The impact of your investment reverberates around the globe, through the lives of our students and alumni!
// VIEW ALL PHOTOS (flickr)