Drive-in fundraiser brings in over $250,000

(UVU President Astrid Tuminez dances onstage at the annual President's Scholarship Ball, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Photo by Hunter Hall.)

This year’s President’s Scholarship Ball looked like something out of Pixar’s “Cars” universe — complete with horn honking in place of typical applause. The innovative “Drive-In” experience offered attendees a first hand glance into UVU’s creative and persistent nature. 

The title of this year’s ball was “Miracles in the Making.” Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Scott Cooksey, deemed the event an attempt to “innovate and initiate new and thought provoking experiences for students.” 

“The grit of a Wolverine is relentless,” said Jeanette Bennet, the master of ceremonies .  

These remarks summarize the intention of the President’s Drive-In Scholarship Ball. 

“By being here tonight we are all giving UVU students the chance to follow their unique capacities and achieve the full potential of their precious lives,” said President Astrid Tuminez.

The event, which has been hosted annually since its inauguration 30 years ago, honors current recipients of the elite Presidential Scholarship and celebrates donors who make the scholarship possible. The event also raises money for future Presidential Scholarship awards. The Presidential Scholarship Fund was founded by the late Bill Anderson.

Initially, the scholarship was offered to 11 students. According to Cooksey, in 2016, UVU uncapped the number of students who could earn the scholarship. This year the award was offered to 262 UVU students, bringing the total number of Presidential Scholarships offered over the past 30 years to 1,682 students. In total, that amounts to just over $3 million donated to students through this award. 

Though the setting of the ball was unique this year, the program and menu were similar to past years. The night started off with a performance by UVU’s Green Man group and included opening remarks by Cooksey and an invocation given by Executive Admin Partner, De’Andre Dearinge. Performances were also given by the UVU School of the Arts, the UVU VOX ACapella, UVU Musical Theatre, UVU Ballroom dance, and even an Elvis inspired performance by President Tuminez, Willy the Wolverine, and Nick Crapo. The event also featured a tribute to Anderson and a speech by Tuminez.

Among the attendees were Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Scott and Karen Keller, James and Andrea Clarke and other UVU supporters and donors. Sponsors included Clarke Capital Partners, Nu Skin, Xlear, UCCU, Regence BlueCross BlueShield and other section sponsors. 

The food for the evening was prepared and served by the students of UVU’s award-winning culinary arts program, under the supervision of Chef Troy Wilson. The menu kept in theme with the drive-in movie atmosphere. 

The Ball — which started out as a small gathering of good intended students and faculty — has become one of Utah County’s most exciting events of the year. 

“The idea that things can start small and with dedication and hardwork grow into something like this is truly remarkable,” Anderson said shortly before passing away in 2019. 

His words express the same gratitude nearly all of the recipients did — the ending donation total for the night was $257,450. 

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