Terry’s annual Alumni Awards and Gala is the signature event on the college’s social calendar, but the black-tie evening is also a time for taking stock of where the college has been and where it’s headed.
Themed “Commit to Terry, Commit to Excellence” this year, the Gala continues to set new fundraising benchmarks, helping improve the college’s already high standards.
Held at the InterContinental Buckhead on April 22, the event kicked off with the Dean’s Reception in the hotel’s courtyard, where the 660 attendees were able to mix and mingle on what proved to be a clear and cool Atlanta night. As famed Athens painter and UGA grad Jamie Calkin live-painted the event, a room just off the ballroom was full of items (including an African Safari trip, a Kirby Smart-signed Bulldog helmet and SWAT training) for the silent auction, which guests could bid on using their cell phones.
Guests moved into the expansive ballroom for dinner, and following a trumpet solo, this year’s program opened with Alumni Board co-chairs Christopher Brown (BBA ’87) and Travis Hannon (BBA ’00) noting a record level of Gala sponsorships was achieved. Later in the evening, Dean Benjamin Ayers announced proceeds from the 2016 and 2017 Galas — in combination with a $500,000 match from the UGA Foundation — will fund a new Terry College professorship at the $1 million level which will bear the name of the Terry College Alumni Board. “This gift represents one of Terry’s highest needs — attracting and retaining talented faculty,” Ayers said.
Gala night programs are also noteworthy for their ceremonies and commemorative videos honoring students as well as the Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni award winners.
This year’s alumni recipients included retired AT&T executive vice president Debbie Storey (AB ’80, EMBA ’06), Chick-fil-A vice president David Salyers (BBA ’81), and Chick-fil-A Senior Consultant of Innovation and New Ventures Michael Patrick (BBA ’03). The three honorees told the packed ballroom about their connection with Terry College and how that tie propelled them into successful business and civic careers.
Following the acceptance speeches, the crowd spilled out to a courtyard after-party featuring a live band, smiling guests and a special ice cream treat.
It was a fitting end for another sweet Gala night for Terry College.
— Kent Hannon