March 10, 2009

Gala to Aid Scholarships and Other Funding

VALDOSTA - Carla Regina Olivar rests easy at night for many reasons - she’s a hard working student; she is studying what she loves; and when she graduates, it won’t be with a large student loan debt.

The 20-year-old musical theatre major is a recipient of two scholarships - one degree-related and one academic - both of which have improved her educational experience “tremendously” Olivar said.

“I am able to go through school knowing I have done my best in helping myself for the future without much debt,” she explained. “That makes me feel less stressed and gives me a chance to spend more money on books, housing and extra-curricular activities, which will enhance my resume.”

The Miami native is the recipient of the LaForrest S. Eberhardt, ’28, Scholarship, which was created by the estate of Lt. Col. LaForrest S. Eberhardt, US Navy, retired, to assist VSU theatre majors who possess outstanding abilities. Recipients are chosen based on a combination of academic achievement and audition or portfolio presentation. Olivar said she was involved with every main stage show and always strived for her best, which ultimately allowed her to capture this scholarship.

Perhaps being the oldest of four children is reflected in the young Cuban-American’s drive for success, because she has maintained a 3.96 overall GPA and rated Dean’s list multiple semesters. She remains involved in extra-curricular activities and has won awards for her many talents. All of these helped her achieve an academic scholarship from the Maggie Webb Bridges and Michael Anthony Stoddard Fund, which was established by Ms. Mary B. Stoddard to honor her sister and her son, Michael Anthony Stoddard.

Although the Stoddard award is endowed, the theatre scholarship still requires additional funding to reach a point where its annual awards are guaranteed. The VSU Foundation’s unrestricted fund supplements many scholarships such as this one in order to create opportunities for qualified VSU students.

The upcoming black-tie optional gala and auction will benefit the VSU Foundation and aid in creating more opportunities for students like Olivar. “A Blazin’ Hot Night….Around the World” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, in the University Center and continue at 7:30 p.m. with a live auction and gourmet dinner full of international culinary delights.

Guests can bid on a wide array of silent action items or larger items in the live auction, such as sporting trips, hunting excursions, private dinner parties, golf memberships, local artwork, and more.

Each person in attendance will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win an exquisite piece of jewelry valued at $4,500 compliments of Steel’s Jewelry. The winner can choose from several pieces of jewelry on display or visit Steel’s Jewelry to make a selection of equal value. 

“State funding for higher education continues to decrease,” said John Crawford, vice president for Advancement. “It is crucial, now more than ever, to increase private and corporate gifts so that we can better leverage private dollars against state appropriations.” 

Crawford is joined by Dr. Maureen Schloss and Kay Jennett in creating “A Blazin’ Hot Night” gala. Members of Valdosta State’s Society of International Students will represent their native countries and serve as ambassadors for the evening festivities. 

Tickets are $100 per person and $800 for a reserved table of eight. For more information and to purchase tickets, call VSU’s Special Events at 229-333-7446 or visit the Web site at .

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