Every year at Newman University, friends and supporters gather with open hearts on Founders Plaza for a night of great food and fun.
The annual Party on the Plaza took place on Saturday, Sept. 23, with a brand new theme — A Night in Tuscany. A traditional Italian meal was served along with a selection of wine and beer to compliment the meal.
Changing from a long-run Oktoberfest theme took intense planning and a highly organized crew. Event setup began the evening before and continued the next day with a large number of volunteers assisting where needed. And with more event tickets sold than ever, this year's event created a record-breaking year.
The evening included silent and live auctions, a 50/50 raffle and the always popular Golden Ticket to help raise funds for student scholarships. Only 100 Golden Tickets are sold — and it allowed winner Sylvia Do to select a live auction item of her choosing before bidders had a chance to get in on the action.
Items such as framed photography by Robert Benson, artwork by alumna Rosemary Dugan '62, a Newman University T-shirt quilt, a hand-painted Wichita flag pallet, a complimentary ride to school in a Wichita Fire Department fire truck for one lucky kid, symphony tickets and more drew the crowd into the Gorges Atrium for the silent auction. With more than 40 items to choose from, there was plenty of excitement in the room.
Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Coordinator Brielle Dunham said she was very happy to see the support coming from the crowd.
"During the live auction, we presented two engraved limestone bricks leftover from the demolition of Heimerman," said Dunham. "I was amazed to see that the two bricks went for $5,600 together. What a great way to honor the old Heimerman Science Center. And there's that connection to the dedication of the new Bishop Gerber Science Center that we just celebrated and the funds raised at Party on the Plaza for scholarship money. That money will go right back to the students who are using the brand new building."
Associate Director of Admissions Amanda Booth said she's been to other Party on the Plaza events and thought this year's event went very smoothly.
"I thought it went really well — the evening was a great way to connect with Newman faculty, staff, and supporters. The stage being placed around the statue of Saint Maria De Mattias was a nice touch. It was cool to see that as a focus. And the energy and attendance surpassed previous years."
The video below provides a peek into this year's Party on the Plaza.