Donning black tie apparel, guests showed up at the Century Center on Sunday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m. in South Bend, Indiana for the Andrews University Graduate Student Association (AUGSA) Awards Gala.
Mark Reid (second year, Master of Divinity), president of AUGSA, said, “The gala is a staple event of AUGSA that the graduate students and their families look forward to. It provides them one night to forget about the projects, papers and pressures of school and life.”
Reid received a large amount of help with this event, including Tiffany Bailey (first year, Master of Community & International Development) who planned and coordinated the main program to start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
Before the event there was a cocktail hour from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., hosted by Unique Bolden (first year, Master of Divinity).
Then promptly at 6:30 p.m., the gala began and Mark Reid (second year, Master of Divinity) and Angie Powels (first year, Doctor of Counseling Psychology) served as emcees for the evening.
The entertainment for the Gala included a wide array of performances. Performers included Jamila Sylvester (first year, Master of Music Ministry), Nathaniel Cogen (senior, computing), Carlon Nyack (first year, Master of Divinity), among others.
Guests were also encouraged to order non-alcoholic beverages from the open bar, munch on the hors d’oeuvres, and have their pictures taken with colorful props at the photo booths. Also, an arts and crafts section was provided for children who attended the banquet.
G. Tatiana Correa (first year, Master of Divinity) said, “The AUGSA Gala was an event of elegance, fun and great fellowship. I appreciated the children’s section for my little girl. She had a wonderful time and was excited to show me the crafts she made and all the fun stuff the caretakers did along with the other children. I truly appreciated witnessing the graduate students who were honored and recognized for their service and dedication to Student Life that night.”
Apart from the entertainment, guests were also invited to congratulate several students who received awards during the gala. Dorhel Davis (first year, Master of Divinity) was awarded “Most Outstanding Contributor to Student Life” and Deslynne Roberts (first year, Master of Social Work; third year, Master in Youth and Young Adult Ministry) was awarded “Most Outstanding Contributor to Community Life/Outreach.” For the awards of excellence, Oleg Kostyuk (Doctor of New Testament Studies) received the “Excellence in Religious/Spiritual Leadership” award and Lauren Lane (first year, Master of Social Work) received the “Excellence in Research” award.
Donald Hall (third year, Master of Divinity; first year, Master of Public Health) expressed his satisfaction with the awards.
“The 2017 AUGSA Gala and awards was a great success! It was such a pleasures to all the graduate students out enjoying a night of laughter and fun with their families, friends and members of administration,” Hall said. “This year’s GSA team and volunteers worked tirelessly to pull off this event. What stood out most to me about the night was the awards. The Graduate Students of Andrews University are doing things and I am happy they were able to be recognized for their hard work.”
Among these awards, Carlisle Sutton’s (second year, Master of Divinity; second year, Master of Community & International Development) Human Empowerment Life Project (H.E.L.P.) was presented a check of $1000.
Many of the guests from the Gala had positive remarks about the event in general.
Carl Cunningham (first year, Master of Divinity; third year, Master of Music) said, “Graduate students enjoyed fine dining, good times with friends and delightful entertainment whilst overlooking the river at our annual Gala. This year several students were honored for the contribution they’ve made to the university in varying areas.”
Imani Anderson (first year, Master of Speech-Language Pathology) said, “Overall, I enjoyed the gala. They recognized the H.E.L.P. ministry which I think is doing some incredibly important outreach in the schools of Benton Harbor. I think the photo booths were great as well! Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun with the props they provided and they were also having a good time with their friends.”