Generous Givers: An Amazing Scholarship Ball Broke Records

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

President Stephen Minnis at the Scholarship Ball

The 49th annual Scholarship Ball was a spectacular night of celebration and an outpouring of the incredible generosity of the Raven family. On Feb. 29, an all-time high 863 Ravens alumni, students, faculty, staff, family and friends — flooded the Overland Park convention center for the single biggest night of support for Benedictine College students in the history of the event.

By the time the sponsorships were counted and the last dollar was pledged, the college had raised more than $1.1 million for student scholarships. Included in that total was more than a half-million dollars in the Fund-A-Raven portion of the evening, which activated an additional $300,000 match for the college from a generous anonymous family.

The Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, DD, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, received the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict at the ball for his 15 years of faithful leadership and for fostering a faith environment in northeast Kansas in which a committed Catholic institution like Benedictine can flourish in education within a community of faith and scholarship.

President Minnis and Archbishop Naumann posing with the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict at the 2020 Scholarship BallMonica Nelson and students on stage at the Scholarship Ball

“Benedictine College is a shining example of what is possible when a Catholic higher education institution embraces the vision articulated by the late pope St. John Paul II and Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” said Archbishop Naumann.

“The sons and daughters of St. Benedict are rightly credited with preserving so much of Western and Christian culture during a very difficult period of history,” continued Naumann. “Benedictine is truly a place where faith and reason are partners in pursing the truth. The college does a remarkable job in not only enlightening the minds but nourishing the souls of its students.”

Among the honored guests recognized at the Scholarship Ball were more than two dozen IDEA faculty-those recognized in the top 10% of their peers across the nation as rated by the students they teach. The college also honored the 2019 women’s lacrosse team, which finished second in the NAIA national tournament and continued a four-year run as Heart of America Conference Champions. Finally, a team of chemical engineering majors were recognized for winning the Regional Chemical Engineering academic competition in November (an event that included teams from Kansas State, Missouri S&T, Iowa State and others) and making a run in the national competition.

President and Mrs. Minnis pose with honored Scholarship Ball guests

President Stephen D. Minnis ’82 celebrated the closing of the successful Benedictine 2020 initiative by highlighting some of the amazing accomplishments Benedictine College has achieved over the past eight years, including the creation of the Raven Memorial Park, the construction of the Murphy Recreation Center, and the renovation and expansion of Westerman Hall, the finest science and engineering building for any small college in America.

Lest the college be tempted to rest on its accomplishments, President Minnis was quick to point out that “our motto is not ‘maintain, always maintain.’ No, it’s ‘Forward, always Forward, everywhere Forward.”

And with that, the president announced to the Scholarship Ball attendees the next initiative of Benedictine College: Transforming Culture in America.

“The Benedictine College mission of community, faith and scholarship can transform culture in America by modeling community in an age of incivility,” said President Minnis. “By spreading faith in an age of hopelessness, and by committing to scholarship in a post-truth era.”

Guests pose in a group photo at the Scholarship BallStudent posing with Archbishop Naumann

Certainly more will come in the following weeks and months with regard to the new initiative of Benedictine College—watch for it!

And look for many exciting announcements to come about a very special 50th Annual Scholarship Ball to be held on Feb. 28, 2021. If the 49th Ball was the greatest in history, just you wait until you see what Benedictine College has in store for its historic celebration of a half-century of Giving From the Heart!