Generous people like former NBA star, now basketball legend Isiah Thomas gathered for the 17th annual Trine University Scholarship Gala with an event that had a huge impact.
The Gala raised about $1.4 million for Trine University student scholarships, including a $250,000 match for Books and Beyond scholarships from Trine board chair alumnus Dr. Rick L. James and his wife, Dr. Vicki L. James, and The James Foundation. More than 450 attended the February 8th event.
During his address, Thomas recounted growing up as the youngest of nine children in an impoverished family on the west side of Chicago, and how the generosity of financial supporters allowed him to participate in youth basketball programs. He also mentioned the impact Bob Knight, Thomas' coach at IU, had on him.
Knight and Thomas had reunited earlier in the day during a special ceremony at Indiana University marking the 40th anniversary of the IU's national basketball championship. But Thomas said the gratitude shown to Knight was for far more than basketball.
Thomas said speaking at the Scholarship Gala brought back many good memories of the support he received and reminded him how different his life would have been without them.Guests enjoyed a gourmet dinner by Bon Appetit and live and silent auctions throughout the evening. The program closed with two songs by Lydia Tremaine, a Trine student who was the 2018 Miss Indiana.
Since its inception, the Scholarship Gala has raised millions of dollars for Trine University student scholarships. Scholarship funds are a critical part of allowing students to attend Trine, which awarded more than $33 million in institutional aid in 2018-19.
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