Event draws big crowds, funds for GCCC
By SCOTT AUST
More than 1,000 people were expected at Friday night's 35th annual Garden City Community College scholarship auction, the largest fundraiser of the year for the GCCC Endowment Association.
More than 400 items were up for bid during both a silent and a live auction. People began trickling in around 6 p.m. and circulated around the silent auction tables, enjoying food, drink and camaraderie.
Fred and Cathy Pfeiffer, of Warrensburg, Mo., came to Garden City because Fred is affiliated with Great Western Dining Service Inc., which provided the meals at the auction.
"We have been to quite a few college fundraisers, and this one is right up there," Cathy Pfeiffer said. "This is spectacular. So much effort was put into this. All the different items, the tables, the decorations. We love being a part of it. The western theme went right along with Great Western Dining."
When asked if she intended to bid on anything, Cathy Pfeiffer said, "Oh, yes!"
"It will be fun. They've put a lot of effort into it," she said.
Emily Dizmang and Karen Johnson, both of Garden City, said they weren't looking for anything in particular to bid on, but were looking forward to having some fun.
"This is our fourth year coming out and we enjoy it," Dizmang, a GCCC almuna, said. "We always win something."
Last year, some of the items the two walked away with included books, shirts, a few other little things. Johnson said she won the bid last year for an iron bench.
"It was really nice," she said. "We also got a wine caddy and prime rib at the live auction."
Debra Atkinson, Garden City, has been coming to the auction for the last five years. Employed in the president's office, Atkinson said she believes in supporting the college.
"I'm just out here to look around and have a good time, and to support the college," she said. "We've bid on things in the past and taken some things home."
One time, she took home a University of Kansas shirt, but she really hadn't considered bidding on anything particular Friday night.
"I'm not even sure what's in the live auction, but I'm going to sit down and take a look at my book," she said. "This is a fun time. It's a great time for people to get together, see one another and support the college. We always have a great meal, so we're looking forward to that."
The repast, catered by Great Western Dining, included two options: a beef brisket with Texas caviar salad, baked beans, two types of cornbread and a jumbo cookie; or a barbecue chicken sandwich with chips and a jumbo cookie.
Jeremy Gigot, GCCC endowment association executive director, said last year's event brought in more than $192,000 for GCCC student scholarships and academic projects. In addition, between the endowed scholarships and other scholarships, more than 1,200 students received around $482,000 in scholarships last year.
"This year, we're on track for half a million," Gigot told the crowd before the start of the live auction.
Gigot said the college's internal grant program and two external grant programs, the Mary Jo Williams Trust and the Finnup Foundation, also helped distribute more than $61,000 in project grants on campus in the past year for things like new computers for the computer lab, new technology in science laboratories, and last year a big item was new emissions testing equipment for the John Deere program.
Friday's auction also featured fish bowl drawings, and a drawing for a new 2013 Cadillac ATS valued at $34,400.
All proceeds will go to scholarships for GCCC students.
"Many of the items in the live auction are donated, either in whole or in part. And the silent auction is much the same way. Most of the items are donated," Gigot said.
The live auction, courtesy of Scott Auction, included 101 items priced at $300 and up, while the silent auction had 300 items up for bid priced between $25 and $300.
A couple of the bigger ticket items during the live auction included a 10-day African hunting safari for two valued at $9,900 donated by Southwest Kansas Office Leasing; and an orthodontic care package offering complete orthodontic treatment for one person valued at $5,400 donated by Dr. Tim and Christina Hanigan.
"We have tremendous business and community support," Gigot said. "Garden City is an extremely generous community. I feel very lucky to live in a community that provides this kind of support. My family's been here for multiple generations. It hasn't always been an easy place to live, but I think with everyone working together it's made it a very desirable place to live."