Eastern Oklahoma State College

Donors surpass $41,000 in record-breaking scholarship fundraiser at Eastern Oklahoma State College

April 15, 2024

The 2024 Sapphire Ball Honorees pose with their awards. Honorees include Randy Holeman (left), Distinguished Alumnus Award; Hannah Truitt, J.C. Hunt Award for Staff Excellence; Jennifer Woods, Distinguished Alumnus Award; Philip Hawthorne, President’s Excellence in Teaching Award; and Charles Rogers of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of McAlester, President’s Community Spirit Award.

For the third consecutive year, donors set a new record for the amount of scholarship funds raised during Eastern Oklahoma State College’s annual Sapphire Ball. The college’s largest fundraising event raised $41,869.36 for the Sapphire Scholarship Fund at Eastern.

“The Sapphire Ball has raised more than $312,000 in student scholarship funds since it began in 2010,” said Eastern President Dr. Janet Wansick. “This tremendous achievement speaks volumes about our community's dedication to empowering our students. I extend my deepest gratitude to all those who attended the Sapphire Ball, sponsored the event, donated an item to the auction, or made a financial contribution in any way. Together, we're not just raising funds, we're changing lives at Eastern.”

During the event, the 2023-2024 Sapphire Scholarship recipients were recognized, including John Bruner of McAlester, Okla.; Patience Mass of Hartshorne; Maggie Cato of McAlester; McKinzee Todd of Porter; Ashton Grogan of Red Oak; Tristan Weaver of Stigler; Jayden Radford of Shawnee; Joshua Vega of Antlers; Dustin “Chance” Lott of Indianola; and Ashley Williams of Wilburton.

The college also presented awards for outstanding alumni, community supporters and employees. This year’s Distinguished Alumni included Jennifer Woods of Wilburton (1978) and Randy Holeman of Broken Bow (1979). In addition, the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of McAlester received the President’s Community Spirit Award, Philip Hawthorne received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and Hannah Truitt was recognized with the J.C. Hunt Award for Staff Excellence.

A total of 29 corporate, organization and individual donors contributed to the success of the event as event sponsors and fund donors, while another 51 businesses and individuals donated items for the live and online auctions.