COHFA Gala raises record scholarship fundsby Steven Bleicher & Helaine L. Cohn
On a breezy, clear night with the sweet scent of wisteria in the air, the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts held its annual gala. The event on April 11, 2014, raised more than $29,000 in scholarships to subsidize the education of students within the Colleges’ eight departments.
The evening’s festivities began with a cocktail reception in the Edwards Courtyard, where guests were entertained by student musicians playing tunes from various genres on guitars, flutes and harps. The Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery was open and featured artworks by graduating seniors in an exhibition titled Portfolios. The waitstaff moved through the gathering serving trays of delectable hors d’oeuvres such as seared tuna with wasabi aioli, shrimp, and chorizo on crispy tortillas. The crowd of tuxedoed men and finely dressed ladies were treated to two carving stations as well as a variety of local and international favorites, from shrimp and grits to sushi.
Guests had an opportunity to purchase “Gullah: the Voice of an Island,” the first part of a two-year project by CCU’s Athenaeum Press. The digital publication with CD box set has more than 80 hours of Gullah stories and spirituals recorded at the praise houses on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County. The project captures and helps preserve the history of South Carolina’s rich Gullah culture.
Also available for purchase was “My Life With Mickey,” the first in the Athenaeum Press’ chapbook projects—remembrances of Jane Spillane’s life with her husband, famed crime novelist Mickey Spillane, and their dynamic, full life together in Murrells Inlet.
As guests finished dining and left the courtyard to board a trolley to Wheelwright Auditorium for a special concert, they were presented with a beautifully wrapped box of assorted chocolates. On each trolley, a COHFA student provided musical accompaniment for the ride: trumpet, guitar or a vocalist. The evening’s entertainment at the Wheelwright showcased the Department of Music’s Spring Band Concert.
“This is an opportunity for the college to showcase its students and their achievements,” said Dan Ennis, dean of the Edwards College, in his welcoming remarks at the well-attended concert. “We are all conscious of the increasing costs of higher education, but each year members of our community come out and support the Gala. The scholarship funds raised at this event help keep students enrolled. In this way, we not only show off our talented students, we can keep nurturing those talents.”
Additionally, thanks to the generosity of donors, the college is in a position to add a new annual scholarship, which will enable students to travel and study abroad, according to the Dean's Office.