President V. Lane Rawlins is pictured with Emerald Eagle Scholars at the 2012 Emerald Ball.
It was a record-setting evening on the UNT campus.
A sold out crowd of 400 attended the sixth annual Emerald Ball Goes Green event held Feb. 25 in the Club Level area of Apogee Stadium, the nation's first newly constructed Platinum LEED certified collegiate football stadium.
The event, which is held every year to support UNT's Emerald Eagle Scholars program, raised nearly $400,000, the largest total in the ball’s six-year history. The total includes donations, pledges and matching funds. The total comes from donations, pledges and matching funds, including a $25,000 match from UNT President V. Lane Rawlins.
Also a first for the ball was making the event a green tie affair, featuring recycled and reusable materials from linens to glassware to decorations. The menu consisted of locally sourced seasonal foods, prepared by Executive Chef Joe Rosenthal and UNT Dining Services. Members of the UNT Office of Sustainability helped the ball’s organizers develop ideas for the eco-friendly, "Emerald Ball Goes Green" theme.
Music by UNT students filled almost every moment of the evening, with jazz guitarist Evan Oxenhandler and the Center Brass Quintet playing during cocktails and the Colin Campbell Jazz Quartet during the dinner. Afterward guests danced to the Mars Hill Band, which includes several alumni among its members.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist and alumnus Bob Ray Sanders served as master of ceremonies introducing a roster of speakers, including President V. Lane Rawlins and Athletic Director Rick Villarreal.
Alumnus Ken Newman ('66) and his wife, Ann, also attended the Emerald Eagle Ball. In 2010, the Newmans gave the largest gift in the Emerald Eagle Scholars program history.
"Ann and I support the Emerald Eagles Scholars program because it represents the image we hold of UNT now and then. UNT is a place of opportunity. It certainly was for me and that’s why it is so special to me. And we need to keep it a place of opportunity," Newman says.
The highlight of the evening came when several Emerald Eagle scholars shared their stories with guests. Since it began in 2007, the Emerald Eagle Scholars program has helped more than 2,400 students attend the university by providing free tuition and fees for four years. So far, nearly 200 scholars have graduated on time or early.
Emerald Eagle Scholar and UNT Honors College student Leidy Guarin, a sophomore international studies and Spanish major, used the ball as an opportunity to overcome her stage fright and share her personal story about becoming a scholar.
"It felt amazing to share my story and express to people how blessed I have been to have received the Emerald Eagle Scholarship and how their contributions have helped me succeed," Guarin says.