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Advancement Board’s Annual Derby Rose Gala raises over $30,000 for Student Scholarship Fund

Annual Derby Rose Gala raises over $30,000 for Student Scholarship Fund 1
The Winters Dining Hall decorations for the 11th annual Derby Rose Gala (CU Photo by Holly Jo Evans)

By Ariel C. Emberton, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “It is extremely safe to say that my life would look drastically different if I had not attended Campbellsville University,” Daniel Bannister, a senior of Glasgow, Ky., said.

Bannister was one of the student guest speakers at Campbellsville University’s 11th Annual Derby Rose Gala on April 26 during which over $30,000 was raised for the university’s Student Scholarship Fund.

In 2009, Campbellsville University’s Advancement Board decided the establishment of a Student Scholarship Fund should be one of their main focuses, hence the Derby Rose Gala.

Over the past 11 years, the Advancement Board has raised $355,000.

The Advancement Board's Annual Derby Rose Gala raises over $30,000 for Student Scholarship Fund 2
Kelly Kirby II, far left, and Steeley Shacklette, far right, interview from left, Gwinn Hahn, Derby Rose Gala Chair, Betty Hord, Co-Chair and Sara Curry, Chair, Advancement Board. (CU Photo by Emily Barth)

Each year, two students who have benefitted from the student scholarship are asked to speak and tell their stories. In December of his senior year of high school, Bannister was set to go to Western Kentucky University. He received a call from his admissions counselor at Campbellsville, Elijah Coffey, and was told he had received the Presidential Scholarship and his tuition was paid in full.

Bannister talked about his appreciation for the scholarship and how, due to scholarship donations, he was able to gain an education at a wonderful institution, that he otherwise wouldn’t have received.

Evelyn Madill, a freshman of Wilmore, Ky., also spoke. “I picked CU because it has a faith-based community with the classes I wanted. It’s a good distance from home and it has a beautiful campus. The biggest factor however was the financial aid.”

Madill was offered many financial aid packages, but none were as good as the one offered to her by Campbellsville University. She is now able to graduate college with no student debt, work only on breaks and is able to focus on her studies as well as growing her faith.

“Thanks to the generous donors like you, my life is forever impacted and full of possibilities,” she said.

Gwinn Hahn, a 1970 Campbellsville College graduates, serves as the Derby Rose Gala co-chair, and she said the inspiration behind the gala is they “wanted to do something that was student focused.” Each year has been an improvement from the previous one.

Sara Curry, who last attended Campbellsville College in 1969, serves as chair of the Advancement Board as well as Derby Rose Gala co-chair. She said her favorite part of the gala is being able to see her old classmates and reminisce on their years in college. “It’s a fun and serious time. We never lose sight of who we are, but we are willing to change with the times,” she said.

Advancement Board's Annual Derby Rose Gala raises over $30,000 for Student Scholarship Fund 1
Haley McGrew, left, and Gene Lanham, right, look over their programs at the 2019 Derby Rose Gala. (CU Photo by Holly Jo Evans)

Each year, the board recognizes a department or school, and this year Dr. John, dean of the School of Theology, accepted the award for the theology school. Hurtgen has been at Campbellsville for 29 years and received a certificate of recognition.

Serving as Derby Rose Gala decorating chair is Betty Hord, a 1968 graduate of Campbellsville College. She said people wanted to find a way to help with the scholarship fund at Campbellsville University. “We know the students may need extra money, and we want to help.”

Damon Rivers, a friend of Hord, was hired to decorate the gala, as he has for two previous years.

Dr. H. Keith Spears, vice president for communication and assistant to the president, was tremendously pleased with how the dining hall looked. “The Winters Dining Hall has transcended itself into a palace,” he said. He gave credit to the planning committee and said “they supersede themselves every year.”

A group of mass communication students under the direction of Jeannie Clark, general manager of WLCU-TV/FM and instructor and director of broadcast services; Stan McKinney, lead professor of mass communication and associate professor of journalism, and Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications, cover the gala. This year Steeley Shacklette, a senior of Elizabethtown, Ky., and Kelly Kirby, a senior of Charlottesville, Va., hosted the event on WLCU-TV.

Shacklette said covering the event was “a little terrifying but a great experience.” Kirby also said it was an honor and a great experience. “It’s great to be a part of something that impacts so many students and families,” he said.

During the event, Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, expressed how pleased he was with the event and gave a thank you to the Advancement Board for another “wonderful gathering.” Carter gave a CU update and said, “CU is doing things differently because the world is changing.”

He updated everyone about the new construction sites on campus, a new satellite center in California that is in the works and thanked the advancement board for hosting another successful Derby Rose Gala.

For more photos from the Derby Rose Gala, visit for feature shots and for photos of attendees with Jake the Horse.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. The website for complete information is

Campbellsville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award certificates, associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Campbellsville University.

The Advancement Board's Annual Derby Rose Gala raises over $30,000 for Student Scholarship Fund 1
Members of the Advancement Board, who plan the Derby Rose Gala, pose with Jake the Horse. From left are Leo Luken, Gwinn Hahn, Jolene Lord, Randy Herron, Sara Curry, Betty Hord, Yevette Haskins and Roy Rich. (CU Photo by Whitley Howlett)