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Success of Gala Dinner Funds Davidson Trust Scholarship

Students, President Quillen, and alumni showing their support for the Dinner at Davidson
(l-r) J.D. Merrill '13, President Carol Quillen, Jordan Starck '12 and Mackey McDonald '68, Chair of the Board of Trustees, with the certificate of appreciation Starck received for his role in initiating the Dinner at Davidson as an annual fundraiser for The Davidson Trust.

Davidson students demonstrated their commitment to accessibility and affordability in higher education by hosting their third annual Dinner at Davidson, a benefit for The Davidson Trust.

The completely student-organized dinner attracted 150 students, faculty, staff, and community members, and raised more than $44,626. The funds came from participation in the dinner, outright donations, and purchases at a silent auction that included golf outings, vacation homes, artwork, and experiences with Davidson professors such as a visit to the opera with noted baritone and Professor of Physics Dan Boye.

The most valuable item was a one-week stay at the Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, which sold for $3,000. Six reserved seats at a Davidson Commencement ceremony sold for $2,000 and a one-week vacation to the Bahamas went for $1,650.

The dinner is part of a larger effort, based out of Davidson's Student Government Association, which seeks to rally the entire college community around the The Davidson Trust. The Trust, which is often referred to as the college's top fundraising priority, supports Davidson's need-blind admission policies, and the college's commitment to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need through a combination of grants and campus employment, with no loans.

The event featured a gourmet dinner prepared by the student cooking club, "P.S." Master of Ceremonies Cyrus Saffari '14 introduced musical entertainment by the a cappella group Androgyny and the student jazz group, Green Eggs and Jam. The FreeWord spoken-word poetry group members Natasha Rivera '12 and Cidney Holliday '15 presented original poetry recitations based on their experiences at Davidson as made possible by The Davidson Trust.

Student organizers for Dinner at Davidson
Student organizers included (l-r) Victoria Beamer '13, Will Reece '14, and event emcee Cyrus Saffari '14.

Speakers included President Carol Quillen and student speaker Richard Hendrix '15. Hendrix noted that a gift to the Trust is a gift to multitudes of worthy causes, because it allows students to enter diverse professions, where their impact is felt.

Dinner at Davidson Planning Committee Chair and Junior Class President J.D. Merrill '13 thanked attendees and supporters of the student effort and announced that the money raised will enable "the students of Davidson College to establish - for the second year in a row - an expendable scholarship for a member of the incoming freshman class."

Merrill then presented Dinner at Davidson founder and current SGA Vice President Jordan Starck '12 with a certificate of appreciation from the college community for his tireless efforts in support of the Trust. Merrill said, "Jordan is the visionary of all visionaries and the inspirer of all inspirers. Without his vision there wouldn't have been a first annual Dinner at Davidson, and certainly without his inspiration there wouldn't have been a second or a third."

Starck closed the program with informal remarks that put the entire evening into perspective. Long after the event was scheduled to end, guests were still dancing to the music of Green Eggs and Jam, knowing that they'd helped make Davidson more accessible and affordable to a member of the incoming Class of 2016.