Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College held its 2014 Scholarship Gala on April 14 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi. More than $100,000 in scholarship funds were raised during the annual event, which includes a reception, silent auction, dinner and celebrity roast.
“The annual scholarship gala is the biggest fundraiser we have for the college, and we are thrilled that we raised more money this year than in previous years,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “The gala is always a fun event that provides our supporters several opportunities to give to our students, promising them the possibility for success that many would not have without these scholarships.”
This year, attorney Len Blackwell, Mississippi Art Commission retiree, Sallye Killebrew, chef Robert St. John, MGCCC retired fine arts instructor Kathryn Lewis, and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame executive director Rick Cleveland roasted Malcolm White, the state director of Tourism. Brad White, brother of the guest of honor, was the roast master.
In addition, a live painting exhibition by renowned Mississippi watercolor artist Wyatt Waters was part of the reception and silent auction. The painting was then auctioned during the program with the proceeds going to the scholarship fund.
White, who is a native of Stone County, grew up on the Perkinston Campus of MGCCC where his father, Harold “War Daddy” White served as Head Football Coach from 1952- 1957. Formerly the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, White began serving in his current position in 2013. He is also owner of Hal and Mal’s, a popular downtown Jackson restaurant and entertainment venue, and is the founder of the Mal’s St. Paddy’s Parade, which benefits the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. He is currently serving as chairman of the Mississippi Blues Commission and vice chairman of the state’s bicentennial committee.
Funds raised during the gala provide scholarships through the MGCCC Foundation for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid, but may need some financial assistance. Scholarships may cover books, tuition, housing or other educational essentials for qualified recipients.