Gordon State College Hosts Inaugural Heart for Gordon Gala

By Karolina Philmon, GSC Marketing Manager

On Saturday evening, Feb. 4, Gordon State College hosted its inaugural Heart for Gordon Gala at the Barnesville campus Student Activity and Recreation Center (SARC) with over 260 attendees from multiple counties of GSC’s 14-county primary service region.

The black-tie optional event began with a cocktail hour, a welcome from GSC President Dr. Kirk A. Nooks, then a classical violin performance by Sarah Jones, GSC business and administration major and one of two of the evening’s scholarship recipients, followed by dinner, recognition of chamber honorees, a silent auction, and lastly dancing to end the night with music from LadyCreech and the MainStreet Band.

“It was a beautiful and special evening where so many of us gathered in celebration, gratitude, and fellowship with one another. The entire event was magical and I’m grateful for those that gave their time, energy and talents to make it happen,” President Nooks said. “Gordon State College recognizes that students are seeking an educational experience that is specifically designed for their success. Here, surrounded by constant encouragement and unmatched support, students come to see a larger vision for their lives.”

The gala’s mission was to raise funds to further strengthen GSC’s mission by ensuring students receive the scholarships they need to complete their degrees and become thriving members within their community. The Heart for Gordon Gala raised around $50K to benefit student scholarships.

“The inaugural Heart for Gordon Gala was a huge success this year,” said GSC Vice President of Advancement, External Relations and Marketing, and GSC Foundation Executive Director Montrese Adger Fuller. “We are grateful for the generosity that has been shown by our Board of Trustees members, our sponsors and donors who have provided support for scholarships for Gordon State College students.”

Founding individuals whose hard work contributed to the success of the institution’s inaugural gala included the Event and Recognition Committee that was comprised of members from the GSC Foundation Board of Trustees. Dr. B. Waine Kong, committee chair along with other committee members conceptualized the event while Jeneen Andrews, GA Power community relations representative headed the decoration subcommittee, and Kenny Coggins led the silent auction subcommittee. Other GSC Advancement staff that helped to lead the efforts of the gala include Development Officer Meagan Pearson, Advancement Coordinator Candi Babcock, Marketing Manager Karolina Philmon, and Marketing Specialist Amber Tallent. Master of Ceremonies was Kathryn Green, communications specialist at Southern Rivers Energy and GSC alumna who served on the GSC Alumni Board as secretary, vice-chair, and chair for two terms.

Silent auction sponsors included J. Henry’s Restaurant in Griffin, Georgia; Antiques on Atlanta located in downtown Barnesville; Mauldin and Jenkins; Village at Indian Springs in Flovilla, Georgia; Grits Café in Forsyth; A Novel Experience; Zoo Atlanta and Georgia Aquarium year-round membership package thanks to Upson Regional Medical Center; black cherry handcrafted burl bowl by Dr. Mark Cotney; handcrafted croquet set by Mark Irvin; Southern Rivers Energy; handcrafted clay planter by Hannah Hightower; Serafino’s Restaurant; Queen Bee Coffee located in a historic mill building in Forsyth; Millbrook Winery from the Hudson River Region of New York gift set thanks to Dr. Joanne Ardovini; Atlanta Braves home opener tickets thanks to Georgia Power; Tidal Wave Auto Spa; two tickets to the Georgia Bulldogs vs. UAB Blazers game thanks to Robert Harris; and golf plus dinner for two at Old Toccoa Farm thanks to Drs. John and Lily Henson.

Thanks to sponsor Coggins, opportunities included: golf for four at The Club at Savannah Harbor; fishing package at Bay City Lodge with thanks also to George Hightower; sport clay shooting for four at Cherokee Rose with thanks also to David Penland; sport clay shooting for four at Old Hudson Plantation; quail hunt at Piney Creek Plantation with thanks also to Hightower and Alan Connell; and an extra sport clay shooting for four at Big Red Oak Plantation.

Presenting sponsor of Heart for Gordon Gala was United Bank Wealth Management Services. Benefactor sponsors included Piedmont Henry, Upson Regional Medical Center, and Sodexo.

The 2023 Heart for Gordon Gala award winners included Dan Kilgore of Upson County for Citizen of the Year; Sherry Farr of Lamar County for Healthcare Hero; and Haze Mabry, Jr. of Pike County in addition to Andrea Griffin of Spalding County for Community Hero.

“The students who attend Gordon State College are extraordinary and deserve every opportunity we can give to ensure their success,” Pearson said. “It’s only fitting that the gala was just as extraordinary as we worked to raise funds for student scholarships.”