UALR alumni and supporters had a chance to get something in return for donating to the athletic program Thursday, Oct. 14.
The SpectacUALR event, honoring Jack Vander Schilden, featured a live and a silent auction, live music, lots of food and a nice selection of wines and cocktails.
Honoree Schilden shed some joyful tears midway through the opening remarks, but he still had composure to make a joke.
“I was inducted into the [UALR Athletic] Hall of Fame in 2004 and now this. I think if I hang around long enough they might make me chancellor when Joel retires.”
Schilden went on to thank the student athletes for all the fun times he’s had working with them over the years. He then thanked his family for putting up with his hectic schedule.
“When I had to go in for work, my daughters used to say ‘don’t go daddy, don’t go.’ Now [that they’re grown up] they say, ‘get out of the house and give me the credit card, Mom and I are going shopping!’”
Near 9 p.m., the live auction kicked off with Andy Davis calling the auction in true auctioneer style, the items up for sale were as classy as the night. A diamond pendant with matching ring from the Phillip Gabriel Jewelry Collection sold for $1,800; a pheasant hunt for two in Huron, S.D. went for $2,250; tickets to four Los Angeles Lakers games, including airfare, hotel accommodations and a meet-and-greet with UALR alum Derek Fisher, went for $6,500; and travel to a Phoenix Suns game with UALR assistant coach Joe Klein, including meet-and-greet and photo opportunities with Steve Nash and Dan Majerle, went for $10, 600.
Junior swimmer Ashley Mullins roamed the area making sure patrons were comfortable. “It’s really nice to associate a face with our school’s funding.” She was aghast at some of the live auction items: “I wish I could go on a fishing trip with Joe Foley!” she said.
In total, the event raised $196,000 for the athletic department.
The annual event is a fundraiser for the athletic department, helping support UALR athletes. According to Athletic Director Chris Peterson, 61 percent of UALR athletes have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The department as a whole carries a 3.2 cumulative GPA and 89 percent of UALR athletes wind up with a college degree.