Approximately 400 Mt. San Jacinto College alumni, faculty and community members attended the 5th Annual Foundation Gala event at Pechanga Resort and Casino on Saturday night to show their support for MSJC students.
The Gala offers college supporters a memorable evening of entertainment with an elegant meal, live music, performances and a silent auction.
It is the Foundation’s signature fundraising event and all proceeds go toward helping support MSJC and its students through the creation of scholarships and grants.
“This event is a big deal, because it’s really pulling in staff, community members, and some of the founding people that launched Mount San Jacinto College from it’s inception when the ground was donated,” said Candy Anady, MSJC Foundation board member and chair of the Foundation’s Special Events Committee. “So, it’s a really special evening.”
“The whole thing has just gotten bigger and more exciting,” said John Hess, trumpet player with the MSJC Menifee Jazz Ensemble.
The theme of this year’s event was Golden Jubilee, and it celebrated MSJC’s 50th anniversary as a provider of higher education.
Five distinguished alumni currently working in performing arts traveled from across the country to perform in honor of the occasion.
Performers included John Cox, Brent Howard, Ron Murray, Lynn Wiley and Jehnean Washington.
The MSJC Menifee Jazz Ensemble played throughout the arrival of the decadently-attired gala guests, who began the evening by mingling in the foyer, reconnecting with fellow supporters, and making new acquaintances. During this cocktail hour, guest were invited to take a tour of the Walking Timeline, which showcased photos and memorabilia of MSJC’s past, present and future.
Guests also bid on silent auction items, which included an extensive array of Southern California professional sports team tickets, Southwest Airline tickets, a 42” television, and golf and spa packages.
Later in the evening, the Foundation presented awards to alumni, community members and staff who have made a difference for MSJC and its students.
In keeping with the 50th anniversary celebration, one such award went to the family of Marie and Carl Quandt, who donated the land for the San Jacinto Campus.
According to Anady, the gala event was a success from its inception in 2008, despite the relatively pricy cost of attendance during a recession.
Tickets for the event this year sold at $150 per person, and sponsorship levels started at $2,500.
Although the event raises a significant portion of funds per year, the cost of hosting the upscale event poses some challenges.
According to Julie Venable, Director of Business Services for the MSJC Foundation, the foundation offers payroll reductions for staff and faculty to help afford the event.
“I think about 68 MSJC staff members signed up for payroll reductions to help with the cost,” said Venable.
“It’s really important for us to give back. And it’s all about scholarships because MSJC is one of the largest growing colleges and there are so many students who need help,” said Anady.
The Mt. San Jacinto College Foundation is a non-profit corporation that broadens the educational opportunities of its students.
According to the foundation’s website, since the MSJC Foundation was formed in 1983, over $2,600,000 in scholarships and book loans has been awarded to students.
Amy Donnelly is a local photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.