GSC Hosts Second Annual A Heart for Gordon Gala

By Karolina Philmon, GSC marketing manager 

On Saturday evening, Feb. 3, Gordon State College hosted its annual A Heart for Gordon Gala at the Barnesville campus Student Activity and Recreation Center (SARC) with over 380 attendees from multiple counties of GSC’s 14-county primary service region and beyond. 

The black-tie optional event began with a cocktail hour, a welcome from Dr. Waine Kong, Event and Recognition Committee chair, followed by dinner, recognition of distinguished service honorees, a silent auction, a performance by the Upson Line Dancers from the Thomaston Civic Center, and concluded with dancing to end the night with music from LadyCreech and the MainStreet Band.

The primary aim of the gala was to raise funds to advance GSC's mission by ensuring students have access to the financial support they need to successfully finish their degrees and emerge as successful contributors to their communities, in turn strengthening the economic development.

“It was an extraordinary evening where so many had the power to change lives and family trees at Gordon and across our communities. I believe people will give once to a need, but they will support a vision for a lifetime,” said Dr. Donald J. Green, GSC president. “We have students from all walks of life and our local businesses need talent. Current and future students, families, and our community are forever changed by this generosity.”

Individuals whose hard work contributed to the success of the institution’s annual gala included the Event and Recognition Committee that was comprised of members from the GSC Foundation Board of Trustees. Masters of Ceremonies were Dr. Kong and Kenny Coggins. Coggins is a life-long resident of Thomaston, Georgia, alumnus of Gordon College, and GSC Foundation Board of Trustees member.

“Thank you to all who came out and supported A Heart for Gordon Gala. Providing students access to an excellent education is a priority for GSC. Scholarships and other forms of financial support is crucial to our mission,” said Natalie Rischbieter, GSC executive director of advancement and GSC Foundation. “Your support has a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of our students, their families, and the region. Thank you again! Make sure to note down Feb. 1, 2025, in your calendars as we invite you to join us again for our next A Heart for Gordon Gala."

Silent auction sponsors included Grits Café, Smith Farm Supply, Upson Regional Medical Center, Kathryn and Josh Green, Tidal Wave Auto Spa, Georgia Power, Bob Harris, Teresa Betkowski, Dr. Joanne Ardovini, Becky Dodgen, A Novel Experience, David Culverhouse, Southern Rivers Energy, Coggins, Dr. Julie Little, Raintree Golf Course, Queen Bee Coffee, Green Island Country Club, Callaway Gardens, Big Red Oak Plantation, Village at Indian Springs, Evergreen Propane, and Old Hudson Plantation. 

Presenting sponsor of A Heart for Gordon Gala was Upson Regional Medical Center. Gold sponsors included Piedmont Henry, United Bank, and Wellstar Health System.

The 2024 Heart for Gordon Gala Distinguished Service Award winners included alumna Kelly Hughes of Lamar County, mayor of Barnesville; alumna Erin Ison of Pike County, clinical placement coordinator at Upson Regional Medical Center; Don Neuner of Fayette County, GSC Foundation Board of Trustees member and alumnus of Gordon Military High School Class of 1970; alumna Rebecca Crane of Spalding County, perinatal director at Upson Regional Medical Center; and Dodgen of Upson County, former staff member who served for over 20 years in various roles at GSC.

“The gala served as a beautiful testament to the unity within our community, as we all rallied together with a common goal: to raise funds for scholarships that will have a profound and positive impact on the students at Gordon State College,” said Meagan Pearson, GSC development officer.