A ticket to West Liberty University's upcoming "Great Gala" not only gives the holder the chance to take a step back into the Gilded Age but also the opportunity to invest in the university's future.
The second annual theme party, sponsored by The Ryan Ferns Healthplex, is set for 6:30 p.m. in Oglebay Park's Pine Room. This year's event will feature a vaudeville theme, with a cocktail reception, dinner and a variety show performed by WLU faculty and students.
An evening of dancing to live music by Davina and the Vagabonds will follow. New to this year's gala is a "best dressed" competition, and partygoers are invited to dress in either period costume or contemporary formal wear.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Sponsors and event organizers gear up for West Liberty University’s second annual Great Gala, April 28 at Oglebay Park’s Pine Room. Pictured, from left, are Delegate Ryan Ferns, D-Ohio; Angela Zambito, director of major gifts for WLU; Sarah Black of Stratford Springs Steak and Seafood; and WTRF-TV General Manager Roger Lyons.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler said the event is sure to be an "unforgettable evening - all while supporting our students here at West Liberty."
Proceeds from the event will benefit the upcoming renovation of WLU's Kelly Theatre, which is in need of new seats, carpeting and lighting and sound systems. According to Angela Zambito, director of major gifts for WLU, the university has set a $500,000 fundraising goal for the project.
"With that, we can really make the theater new," she said.
Zambito said gifts from alumni, many of them former Hilltop Players, are nearing the $100,000 mark, and the new seating work is expected to get under way this summer.
WLU President Robin Capehart noted the arts are one of the university's "pillars of distinction," and he said the time has come to bring the theater up to date.
"The productions that we do have become an integral part of the community, and it's great to see the community get behind this event," Capehart added.
West Virginia Delegate Ryan Ferns, D-Ohio, said he decided to sign on as the Great Gala's naming sponsor after having a great time a last year's event. He said it's a perfect opportunity to support a local institution and at the same time get the word out about the new physical therapy business he's starting, The Ryan Ferns Healthplex.
A limited number of tickets are available by calling 304-336-8888. Zambito said anyone interested in naming opportunities in connection with the Kelly Theatre campaign should call her at 304-281-0118.