University of St. Thomas Mardi Gras Scholarship Gala Celebrates Family in a Year to Remember
Celebrating Sous les Etoiles or Under the Stars at University of St. Thomas’ 71st Mardi Gras Gala, over 600 revelers emerged from a year of pandemic-inspired isolation to attend the annual soiree on Saturday, May 22. The event, originally scheduled under a tent on the UST campus, was postponed by 3 months and moved indoors, back to its home at the Hilton-Americas Hotel downtown. The gala raised critical funds for student scholarships and honored David E. Harvey, Jr. for his love of community and family.
Extraordinary Giving Raises Money for Scholarships & Student COVID-related Hardship Funds
Party-goers sporting beads, flashy necklaces and feather boas celebrated in Harvey’s honor and gave generously in the amount of over $1.65M for student scholarships and innovative programs which fuel UST’s academic excellence.
This year, COVID-related hardships drove financial needs even higher. To ease the identified burden, UST decided to dedicate Gala proceeds to both The St. Thomas Fund for scholarships and CeltCare, a special initiative implemented during these unprecedented times to assist those suffering pandemic-related hardships.
Recognized: Special Guests
David Hao, JD, served as Master of Ceremonies. His day job at UST is Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, gave the invocation and a tribute to David Harvey, by blessing a custom-made rosary of gold and garnet (the school’s colors) gifted to him on-stage.
Live Auctioneer Logan Thomas enticed the crowd to bid on memorable live auction items totaling $112,000, including a dinner at the home of Denise Castillo-Rhodes and husband Bob Sergesketter with UST Assistant Baseball Coach Lance Berkman—An “Out of the Park” Dinner for 8; Catching Up with the Ivanys—A Florida Weekend with Former UST President and First Lady; Private Quail Hunt on the Cullen Ranch; A Blue Chip Basilian Bash—Poker at the Basilian Father’s Residence; and Serenity at Cibolo Creek Ranch in Marfa, Texas. A family bible, hand-inscribed by former UST president Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, brought in a whopping $42,000. For the third year in a row, UST Boardmember Mindy Hildebrand offered a generous $100,000 match for the paddles up appeal from the Hildebrand Foundation bringing the grand total for paddles up to $225,000.
Ambience: Bunk Johnson Brazz Band Struts in with 2nd Line Revelers
The Bunk Johnson Brazz Band and the Mardi Gras King and Queen led UST students and revelers after dinner around the ballroom to the spirited tune, When the “Celts” Come Marching in. Inspired by the festivities, guests donned parasols and swung colorful handkerchiefs as they snaked through the tables. UST Mascot, Lenny the Lion, wore a tux and brought up the parade line.
Meet: Mardi Gras King & Queen
The King and Queen were stunning as they joined the grand fete. Mardi Gras King Youssef Ahmed ’21, B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, will attend Baylor College of Medicine in the fall, his next step to becoming a physician. Mardi Gras Queen Margaret Gaston ’21, B.S. in Nursing, sees herself as a daughter of God, a student, a future nurse, a friend and peer minister. These students reflect UST’s time-honored tradition of crowning two who epitomize the University’s mission and values.
Four Tops Entertain with Motown Sound
The Four Tops, the famed vocal quartet from Detroit helped define that city’s Motown sound in the 1960s. Their singing and synchronized dancing produced an iconic sound and sight and brought guests to their feet with their rhythmic groove and big band sound.
Delicious Louisiana Mardi Gras Faire
The evening’s delicious Louisiana Mardi Gras faire began with crawfish bisque en croute and watercress arugula, roasted beets, pickled okra, roasted tomato and goat cheese crumble salad. The Bayou-State-inspired main entrée was blackened free range chicken with black truffle bordelaise, crabmeat beignet laced with Cajun remoulade, garlic roasted gulf prawn with thyme beurre blanc and sweet potato mash, collard greens and overnight roasted tomato.
David Harvey Jr. Honored for his Leadership
Harvey, a Life Director at UST, is a stalwart champion for UST’s students, moving the University always forward in its mission. His vision, sound judgment and commanding character are chief among the reasons for UST’s continued growth and flourishing.
UST Former and Current Presidents and First Ladies Served as Event Co-Chairs
In the spirit of family, four UST former and current presidents and first ladies served as event co-chairs: Dr. Joseph “Tip” and Norma McFadden; Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB; Robert and Marianne Ivany, MLA ’16; and Richard and Melynda Ludwick.
Honorary co-chairs were David Torres ’12, Alumni Association Board President; Lucindra Campbell-Law, Faculty Senate Chair; H.E. Jenkin, Staff Council President; and Kim Nguyen, Student Body President.
Seen in the Crowd
Spotted in the crowd were His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Denise Castillo-Rhodes and Bob Sergesketter, Trini Mendenhall, Ann and Pat Moran, Cathy and Joe Cleary, Michele Malloy, Angela and Craig Jarchow, Stan Marek, Shauna and Morris Clark, Susan and Larry Massey, Kaitlyn and Michael Scheurich, Paula Hansen, Judith Raines and Dave Kem, Shelley Grahmann, and Lisa Helfman.