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HomeEducationAustin Peay State University’s 39th Annual Candlelight Ball sets fundraising record

Austin Peay State University’s 39th Annual Candlelight Ball sets fundraising record

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) 39th Annual Candlelight Ball, was held May 6th, 2023 at the Omni Nashville Hotel, raised a combined $162,500 – surpassing the goal of $100,000 and setting a record for the largest fundraising total in the event’s history.

Participants raised funds through gifts made during the event and by bidding on live auction items. For the first year in the history of the Candlelight Ball, their donations will benefit Funds of Excellence in each academic college and support other major areas of the University.

Fortera Credit Union served as the inaugural Governor Sponsor for the event, making 2023 the first year that the Candlelight Ball has had a Title Sponsor. Premier Sponsors David and Tracie Hogan provided wine for the occasion, also a new addition to the Ball. Presenting sponsors included Allstate Insurance Agent Kathryn Minniehan, the APSU College of Business, F&M Bank, Legends Bank, and Planters Bank.

“We want to say another special thank you to Fortera Credit Union and our many other sponsors for making this year’s Candlelight Ball possible,” APSU President Mike Licari said. “Their involvement allows this beloved Austin Peay tradition to grow and expand its reach every year, while also maximizing the funding that can be given to our deserving students.”

The Candlelight Ball is an Austin Peay State University tradition with a yearly history of providing students with scholarships. It was established in 1984 by the late retired Brig. Gen. Wendell H. Gilbert, who served 17 years as Austin Peay State University’s Vice President for Development and University Relations.

Gilbert passed away in July last year, just a few months after his wife Jean. His daughter, Ann Marie Crozier, is a 1986 graduate of Austin Peay State University. She joined Licari onstage during the event to present the 2023 Candlelight Ball Awards in honor of her parents.

The 2023 Wendell H. Gilbert Award was presented to Dr. Joe (‘70) and Estella Greer. The Spirit of Austin Peay Award was presented to retired Master Sgt. Larry Goolsby (’97) and his wife, Barbara Goolsby. Candlelight Ball Award nominations are accepted year-round. To be considered for the 2024 Candlelight Ball Awards, which will be presented at the 40th Annual Candlelight Ball, nominations are due by May 31st, 2023. To submit a nomination, click here.

 “To all of our guests who purchased auction items at the 2023 Candlelight Ball, we hope you will enjoy your unique items and experiences, and feel good about the impact you have made on our students’ lives,” APSU Vice President for Alumni, Engagement and Philanthropy Kris Phillips said. “I would like to specifically thank retired Master Sgt. Larry Goolsby and Barbara Goolsby for supporting the Candlelight Ball Scholarship by purchasing ‘The Gov’ bust, Candlelight Ball’s newest tradition.”

“The Gov” is a specially crafted bust depicting the University’s mascot and was designed by the innovators at Austin Peay State University’s GIS Center. Only one will be produced each year, and the winning bidders will have their names engraved on a larger version of the bust located in the historic Browning Building.

“We also want to express our gratitude to the 2022-2023 Candlelight Ball Committee members for their efforts to plan and promote the most successful Candlelight Ball yet,” Phillips said. “I want to say a special thank you to Candlelight Ball Committee co-chairs Betsy Baggett and Jordan McWhirter for working hard to bring the vision of the committee to life in such an effective way.”

The members of the 2022-2023 Candlelight Ball Committee include: Baggett, McWhirter, Andrea Goble, Andrea Herrera, Kathryn Minniehan, Adrienne Beasley, Kimberly Wiggins, Casey Tenholder, Candice Coleman, Amelia Magette, Nicole Rye, Ginna Holleman, Lesleigh Averitt, Lillie Millan, Beth Mabry and Chandler Hamaker.

Community members can still make an impact on the APSU area of their choice by visiting https://givetoapsu.com/CandlelightBallGiving. Save the date for the 40th Annual Candlelight Ball, which will take place on Saturday, May 18th, 2024, at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

For more on the story, see APSU’s annual Candlelight Ball raises over $140,000

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