By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor (Courtesy Photo/The Bison)
With every new semester there are trials and frustrations; however, the legend Mary Lou Retton will be giving advice on how to continue to push through hard times.
Oklahoma Baptist University will be hosting the annual Green and Gold Gala March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center. During the event, there will be a silent auction, live music, students’ stories, the delivering of the Presidential Leadership Award and a speech from Olympic gold medalist, Mary Lou Retton.
“OBU is on full display at the Gala each year,” senior vice president for advancement and university relations, Dr. Will Smallwood said. “The Gala is a fun evening, where guests are treated to the incredible story of OBU and the story of the invited speaker. Student stories always highlight the evening.”
The purpose of the Green and Gold Gala is to not only showcase life on Bison Hill, but also raise funds for student scholarships for future Bison.
“Oklahoma Baptist University believes strongly in the quality and value of an OBU education,” Smallwood said. “As such, the University continually strives to provide more funds in scholarships for students. With rising enrollment and a guaranteed minimum $5,000 per year scholarship for all new freshmen, the University desires to increase scholarship funds so that more students may experience a life-changing education on Bison Hill.”
For the past several months, the Office of University Advancement team has been working all year to pull this Gala together.
Some of the many steps taken to create an event like this include confirming the venue, meeting with sponsors, mailing invites, creating videos, ect. However, one of the first tasks for planning this event was finding the guest speaker.
To find a speaker, OBU administrators carefully analyze a list of speakers and invite individuals depending on their availability. This year they chose Olympic gymnast, Mary Lou Retton, a woman who has succeeded in her athletic and personal life.
“As America’s favorite Olympic gymnast, her story and life represent the ideals of our University and state,” Smallwood said. “Her example of faith, hard work and perseverance is captivating, and we know she will inspire all who attend the Gala.”
In 1984, when the summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles, Mary Lou Retton broke all kinds of records and set many standards.
She won the All-Around Gold Medal in women’s gymnastics, becoming the first woman to ever win a gold medal in gymnastics. She also went on to win silver medals in Team and Vault and bronze medals in Uneven Bars and Floor Exercises.
With the total of five medals, Mary Lou Retton held the record for the most medals won in that year.
“Mary Lou will talk about the will to be a champion – even in very adverse situations,” director of development, Crystal McKee said. “There is a part of her story leading up to the Olympics in L.A. where she was injured. There is a message and theme of ‘never give up.’ She will say many things about being an Olympic athlete that should resonate with the OBU community: take pride in who you are, what you do and how you carry yourself. Though not everybody has the chance to be an Olympian, we all have the chance to be excellent in our craft and in our daily walk.”
Although items are still being finalized, some of the items in the silent auction include OBU Football season passes, a couple of gift baskets with Thunder tickets, OKC Broadway tickets, Kendra Scott jewelry and several other items.
This event is made possible with the help of OBU’s sponsors. This year there are over 25 sponsors, including First United Bank, Hobby Lobby, Express Employment Services, Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Lingo Construction, Citizen Potowattomie Nation and many more.
Tickets are on sale now and available for everyone. There are special pricing for all OBU students, faculty and staff. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.okbu.edu/gala. The deadline to purchase tickets is this Friday, March 2.