For the third consecutive year, HIU’s annual Spirit of Hope Celebrity Concert and Awards Gala set new records for attendance and giving. Nearly 700 guests filled the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom this year for an elegant evening of celebration and inspiration. The signature event raised over $173,000 toward student scholarships, with more donations still being collected.
This year’s Gala audience enjoyed several live musical performances, including two featured headliners back by popular demand. HIU Alumnus Tyrone Wells (’98) entertained the audience with several of his well-known hit songs as well new music from his most recent album titled This is Love. Later in the evening, American Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre inspired guests with his personal stories, music, and the debut of his new song “Ignite Hope” written specifically for HIU’s Ignite Hope Capital Campaign.
In the keynote address, President John L. Derry described the significant impact of HIU around the world and identified improvements that will become possible as a result of the Ignite Hope capital campaign. Cody Nielsen, a current student, shared his touching story of how the HIU community rallied to support him through a very difficult time, and how he would not have been able to continue his college education without the financial assistance of generous donors.
The annual Spirit of Hope Award was presented to Mitch Baird, a longtime supporter of the university. Baird truly embraces and embodies the Spirit of Hope in his own life and is an enthusiastic spokesperson for the value of living that spirit. Baird works as an engineer with the Northop Grumman team and has served as a teacher, deacon and elder at University Christian Church where he and his wife have been members for over 30 years. He has served multiple terms as a member of HIU’s Board of Trustees. “When I support HIU, I know that there are more than 2,000 students becoming better equipped to impact the world every day,” Baird said.
Norco Christian Church was recognized with the Supporting Church Award. Pastor Alton Vance (M.A. ’91) accepted the award for his congregation. Despite its modest size, the church has given nearly $65,000 to HIU over the past several years. The church exemplifies a model of giving that is both generous and sacrificial.
HIU’s Women’s Basketball team received the Athletics Achievement Award for their record-breaking season. Many of the team members were there, along with Head Coach Bill Crammer to accept their award and to be honored by the HIU community.
The 2014 Gala was a memorable evening of inspiration and unprecedented generosity.
HIU’s Advancement Office sincerely thanks everyone who participated, attended, and are “investing in change.”