Home 100th Anniversary GRCC celebrates 100-year anniversary in October with grand gala

GRCC celebrates 100-year anniversary in October with grand gala


By Sean P. Mulhall – Editor-in-Chief

Photo courtesy of GRCC communications department.

Grand Rapids Community College will host a gala Oct. 14 at DeVos Place to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the college.

The goal of the gala is to raise $1 million in new student scholarships.

Don MacKenzie, executive director of the GRCC foundation and associate vice president of college advancement, spoke at the August board meeting about the gala.

“A major amount of work from the foundation office has been focused on this year’s gala,” MacKenzie said. “We have volunteers from across the campus community, the foundation board and the community in general.”

“Dr. Ender, the foundation staff and fundraising committee have been actively soliciting sponsorships,” MacKenzie said. “I’ll remind you that our goal is to raise $1 million dollars in new scholarship dollars, in association with our 100th anniversary gala.”

GRCC president Steven Ender spoke up after MacKenzie reported that the foundation had already raised over $910 thousand towards the $1 million goal.

“Before we get too giddy around that $900 thousand dollar mark,” Ender said. “I want to remind everyone that we have to raise enough to pay for the actual event. So, we’re looking at a total cost of $1.25 million.”

In a later interview MacKenzie said that the actual goal is closer to $1.2 million. He explained that the $200,000 is going to cover for the cost of hosting this event.

“Food and beverage, renting the space and technology is the big thing,” MacKenzie said. “You have projection screens and monitors…Out in the grand gallery…we’re going to have ten 80-inch monitors that will represent each of the 10 decades of our history of the college. So it’s going to be (a) walking timeline.”

Unless they purchase their own $150-gala tickets, student involvement will be limited to the culinary program preparing and serving food and members of the music program who will be performing for the gala. There is a small chance that a donor might not use their table and ask the college to invite students to fill the seats.

When asked if the $1 million mark is within reach following the August board meeting, Chairman Bleke sounded confident.

“We’ll do it,” Bleke said.

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