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CU’s Derby Rose Gala raises $25,000 at 9th annual April event; sponsor Advancement Board has raised over $300,000 over nine years

May 4, 2017
For Immediate Release

From left Clark Tippett and Amber Wright, serve as the main hosts for the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
From left Clark Tippett and Amber Wright, serve as the main hosts for the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala, sponsored by President and Mrs. Michael V. Carter and the Advancement Board, raised $25,000 in scholarship funds for university students on the night of April 7, adding to the grand total of $300,000 raised over the past nine years.

“The Derby Rose Gala is just a wonderful opportunity for people to get dressed up, come out and have a great evening but know that they are helping the cause in student scholarships,” said Dr. H. Keith Spears, vice president for communication and assistant to the president at CU.

According to Benji Kelly, vice president for development, the funds raised from the Derby Rose Gala help to keep education affordable for CU students, such as Breanne E. Ward, a CU junior from Otisco, Ind.

In speaking to the crowd of alumni, visitors, faculty and fellow students filling Winters Dining Hall, Ward indicated that half of her tuition has been covered by university scholarships.

Carter praised the event’s organizers for their efforts on behalf of CU students.

“We work hard to provide our students scholarships, and efforts like tonight are why we are consistently in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for lowest student debt upon graduation,” he said.

Christian Naylor, left, and Jesslyn McCandless, third from left, interview Dr. Donna Hedgepath, vice president for academic affairs, at the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
Christian Naylor, left, and Jesslyn McCandless, third from left, interview Dr. Donna Hedgepath, vice president for academic affairs, at the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

In addition to the gala supporting student scholarships, CU’s mass communication students worked to cover the event, providing valuable hands-on opportunities for those studying mass communication.

This was Alex Meade’s third year covering the gala.

Meade, a senior from Paintsville, Ky., is completing an area in mass communication and an area in social studies.

“The first year I was an assistant producer for the radio station WLCU 88.7, the Tiger,” Meade said. “The second year I was a camera operator for the hosts. This year I was the director of the television coverage.

“The gala is great for mass communication students to take part in because it is real world experience. Hardly any other schools do coverage of a red carpet event like this. It is a great element to add to a resume, but more importantly it’s just great to have the experience of the gala for the jobs we want in the future.”

Matt Wehle, a junior completing an area in mass communication, said the gala “has helped me realize what anchors and reporters go through. I am usually behind the scenes, and now I know what it feels like to be in their shoes.”

Gwinn Hahn, chair of the Derby Rose Gala, third from left, shows Carol Brown, on left, and Roy Rich, their seatings at Campbellsville University’s 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
Gwinn Hahn, chair of the Derby Rose Gala, third from left, shows Carol Brown, on left, and Roy Rich, their seatings at Campbellsville University’s 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Amber Wright of Corydon, Ky., a junior who is pursuing an area in mass communication and a minor in marketing, agreed.

“The gala is a perfect opportunity for mass communication students to get practice being a part of a big live production” Wright said. “My freshmen year I was a radio reporter, my sophomore year I was a TV reporter and this year I was one of the hosts.

“It’s good practice for the future because I want to be a news anchor.”

This experience has helped multiple students in the past and will continue to do so in the future, said Jeannie Clark, instructor at CU and general manager for WLCU-TV/FM.

“The coverage of the Derby Rose Gala gives students the unique opportunity to take what they have learned in classes and apply it to a real event,” Clark said.

“Students work in all aspects of large event coverage including: television production and reporting, radio production and reporting, photojournalism and social media production for a variety of platforms.

“Because this is covered live, students have a chance to see what it’s actually like to work under a deadline with no chance for going back and fixing mistakes.”

From left, Lionel Jones and Lexxus Graham, work on cameras for the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
From left, Lionel Jones and Lexxus Graham, work on cameras for the 9th Annual Derby Rose Gala at Campbellsville University. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Stan McKinney, associate professor of journalism and lead professor for mass communication, agreed.

“It is a great thing for a student because it allows them to cover a real event,” McKinney said.   “Talking about events, writing and photography in class is one thing, but it’s nothing like the real thing.

“Covering the Derby Rose Gala gives students experience in talking to real people in real time under real deadlines. I think it gives them a real experience of what it is like in the field. It gives them something that looks good on their resume and looks good when they apply for a job.”

McKinney said few schools provide students an opportunity to cover a real event such as the gala, and expressed gratitude to the Advancement Board which created and plans the gala each year.

From left name, Sara Curry, chair of the Advancement Board, and Gwinn Hahn, chair of the Derby Rose Gala, third from left, give a Certificate of Recognition to Dr. Pat Cowherd, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Technology, who represented the School. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)
From left name, Sara Curry, chair of the Advancement Board, and Gwinn Hahn, chair of the Derby Rose Gala, third from left, give a Certificate of Recognition to Dr. Pat Cowherd, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Technology, who represented the School. (Campbellsville University Photo by Joshua Williams)

Advancement Board member Gwinn Hahn, a 1970 Campbellsville College graduate, was chair of the gala, and Betty Hord, a 1968 alumna, was in charge of decorations. Sara Curry, also a student at the university in the late 1960s, is chair of the Advancement Board.

A U.S. News & World Report, released September 13, 2016, lists Campbellsville University as being in the top five best universities with the lowest student debt upon graduation. The report touted Campbellsville University in helping students keep college debt among the lowest in the south regional universities category, comparing it to other southern schools with a similar ranking such as the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, William Carey University in Mississippi, the University of North Florida and the University of South Florida.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 5,000 students offering over 80 programs of study including 19 master’s degrees, six postgraduate areas and seven pre-professional programs. The university has off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset and Hodgenville with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville and a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.