The 2013 SpectacUALR took place on Oct.10 at the Jack Stephens Center. According to the Trojan Athletics website, more than $220,000 was raised for the UALR athletic program, setting a new record for donations. This year’s program marked the fifth for what has become an annual event that benefits the UALR Athletic program. The program gives fans and alumni a chance to meet some of the UALR athletes and coaches and show support by bidding on auction items.
Dr. John Wilson, a 1959 graduate of the then-named Little Rock University, was honored at the ceremony. Wilson, an avid basketball fan who regularly attends UALR games, briefly spoke at the event. The award-winning doctor recalled how the school gave him a chance, of which he took full advantage.
Various sports memorabilia and donated items were available for silent auction, but the highlight of the event was the live auction hosted by CBS
news anchor and former radio personality Craig O’Neill.
Among the many items bid on at this year’s live auction were tickets to an Oklahoma City Thunder game of the winner’s choosing, tickets to
the Dallas Cowboys game against the Minnesota Vikings, tickets to the College World Series, and even a chance to accompany the basketball team on their trip to the British Virgin Islands this season.
The entire collection of items was thought to be the largest in the events history, according to Leah Thorvilson, Director of Development at UALR
and one of the SpectacUALR organizers.
“I think it’s the largest number of auction items we’ve ever had for any of the SpectacUALR events,” Thorvilson said.
The growth of the event was something that Matt Bonaminio, UALR Director of Sales, could also attest to. Bonaminio served as the SpectacUALR coordinator. “This is the first year – and the committees made that decision – (that) you’ve seen an expanse. Things have kind of gotten bigger; more food, more auction items, and it’s kind of taken that next step,” he said.
The growth has been so significant that the UALR Development Office has helped to expedite the checkout process during the last few years of
“It’s the largest fundraiser within the entire university. These funds go directly to support the student athletes by way of scholarships,” Thorvilson said.
Although this was the fifth year of the event, the setting still provides for a unique evening. “It gives the donors to this department, to the university an
opportunity to interact with the coaches, the staff, and the players. And it’s a very unique setting, because we’re a mid-major university and can still do those things,” Bonaminio said.