President’s Ball draws largest crowd yet

GVL / Marissa Dillon

GVL / Marissa Dillon

Claire Fodell

With more than 4,000 tickets sold for the dance and 500 for the dinner, this year’s President’s Ball was the biggest one yet — and a night that the Grand Valley State University community won’t soon forget.

During dinner, President Thomas Haas said the ball means a lot to him because it brings the GVSU community together.

“Each time that we have an opportunity to gather together here for dinner with dancing a little bit later, it becomes a magical moment for Grand Valley,” Haas said.

The theme of this year’s dance was James Bond 007, and it was seen throughout the event. Haas and Student Senate President Ricardo Benavidez, as well as the two announcers for the night, students Ian McDonough and Jon Garcia, wore Bond-like tuxedos, complete with bow ties, as they walked onto the stage to start the night.

“We’re getting a couple of chuckles and we’ve both been on stage a lot so it’s not very nerve-racking,” McDonough said.

He and Garcia kicked off their witty banter with a list of GVSU’s achievements this year, including the Laker football team beating rivals Saginaw Valley State University in back-to-back weekends, being ranked the most environmentally friendly university in the state and Haas winning the “Movember” competition.

The recognition didn’t end there; three other awards were given out during the dinner segment of the event.

First was the Student Award for Faculty Excellence, given to Mary DeYoung, a sociology professor at GVSU.

“If my word isn’t good enough, she has an almost perfect score on,” said Anthony Clemons, Student Senate vice president for diversity affairs.

Later in the program, the Laker of the Year award was given to the director of international student and scholar services, Kate Stoetzner.

“Kate puts her whole heart and soul into this university,” said Student Senate Vice President for Finance Samantha Conrad.

This year’s President’s Award was give to Capt. Brandon DeHaan, assistant director of DPS. DeHaan has been a member the GVSU community for almost 30 years.

“For those entire 30 years he has dedicated everything he has to Grand Valley, to our community,” Benavidez said.

During dinner, there were performances by GVSU’s Tribal Fusion Belly Dance group and Crossbow, a student-led Celtic band.

“Each year, what I really have a sense of is the great talent that we have here, and you can see it on the stage tonight,” Haas said.

Crossbow, who also performed at the President’s Ball last year, chose a Bond medley to play during the dinner. This was Tribal Fusion’s first appearance at the dance.

“It was so exciting,” said Kelsey Best of Tribal Fusion. “This is my fifth year with the club and I have never danced in such an extravagant setting. It made me proud to be up there.”

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