The night won’t soon be forgotten by an exclusive group of Central Florida professionals who attended an elegant reunion of fellow alumni at the Celebration Golf Club.
Comedy, magic, music, prizes, fine food and fellowship were hallmarks of the Executive MBA alumni reunion.
Graduates and their guests left the club with gifts, prizes and the rewards of a silent auction of weekend getaways, daredevil adventures, fine foods and services and other wares.
“The night was a great success,” said Wendy Lowe, EMBA program coordinator, who helped organize the event. “Alumni reconnected with each other, befriended new connections and visited with professors.”
In addition, she said, alumni raised almost $5,300 to support EMBA Program activities. Alumni designated part of the money be donated directly to the Oakhaven Home for the Aged in South Africa.
Current EMBA students (Cohort 8) were volunteer workers at the home outside Capetown during their visit there in June. More than 100 aged South Africans live at the home. This is the second cohort of the eight-year-old Stetson program to add a human service element to their international study trip.
Keyboard music, both lively and soft, created a pleasant background to the evening, thanks to SU School of Music graduate Harry Rios. Alumni laughed and were amazed by a humorous magician, Brian Staron.
The crowd was amused when Staron took a $100 bill from Dean Stuart Michelson, had him sign it then made it disappear. Amusement turned to flabbergast when the magician then sliced open a lemon and the bill was found inside.
The drawing for a grand door prize was won by Mark Snider of Cohort 6. He walked away from the club that night knowing he can spend three days and two nights, with breakfast each day, at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
Accounting Professor Vincent Brenner, a long-time favorite of EMBA students, who slips wry jokes into his numerical lectures, won the faculty prize, a gift certificate to Café D’Antonio in Celebration and a bottle of wine from Imperium Food & Wine.
Silent auction tables were filled with desirables donated by generous businesses and supporters across Central Florida. There were dozens of restaurant and catering meals, massages, haircuts, food baskets, athletic gear, weekend getaways and opportunities for recreation ranging from golf to nightclub dancing.
Mark Mattern of Cohort 1 and his wife, Sonya Snyder, have a St. Johns River trip in their future. They won bidding on a two-night stay, and use of a pontoon boat, at the riverside Hontoon Landing near DeLand.
Russ Lowe of Cohort 5 will be jumping out of a plane after winning a Jump Florida skydive package. Rich and Verena Tetley, Cohort 5, have plenty of leisure in store with four Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World and four multiple-day passes to Sea World and Aquatica.
Anne Hamilton, Cohort 6, scooped up three catering auction packages, including a dinner buffet for ten guests by Puff ‘n Stuff.
“We are so grateful to all the companies and individuals who donated products to our silent auction,” said Lowe. “That was a major part of the success of the reunion, both for raising money and having a lot of fun.”
Photographs of the event, taken by Russell Sirmans, can be seen (and purchased) on the photographer’s website and viewed on the EMBA alumni page or Flickr, said Lowe.