Island University Honors Top Donors During Annual President’s Mardi Gras Ball

Published: March 05, 2018

Island University Honors Top Donors During Annual President’s Mardi Gras Ball

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Academic regalia were traded out for glitz and glamour on March 3 during the 2018 President’s Mardi Gras Ball – a fitting end to the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Investiture of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s 11th president and CEO, Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla.

“Tonight, we honor you – loyal donors, accomplished alumni and incredible supporters of this institution,” said President Quintanilla as she addressed a sold-out crowd. “We honor the incredible success that has come as a result of your partnership and your belief in the Island University.”

Many of this year’s honorees have long-supported the University by donating funds needed to generate student scholarships, provide academic programming and even jumpstart University research centers and labs. All of whom make it possible for students like Zoe Rodriguez, a senior theatre major and Trent Shafer, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, achieve their dreams. Both students had the distinction of co-emceeing this year’s event.

“Coming to this University has been a life-changing event for me,” shared Rodriguez. “I’ve met students from all over the world at this bustling campus and it has shaped me into the adult that I am today. All of this has been possible thanks to the theatre scholarship I have been so lucky to receive.” 

The President’s Mardi Gras Ball is a festive occasion honoring the cumulative giving of the individuals, organizations and corporations that have made a significant impact on the Island University. Those honored at the event had their names and images added to the Wall of Recognition located in the University Center, Legacy Hall.

The 2018 honorees included:

Platinum Inner Circle of Excellence Society:

  • Coastal Conservation Association Texas

Gold Inner Circle of Excellence Society:

  • H-E-B

Silver Inner Circle of Excellence Society:

  • AT&T
  • Building Conservation Trust

Bronze Inner Circle of Excellence Society:

  • Jagdev and Linda Cheema
  • George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation
  • Patty Puig Mueller

Several donors, including tonight’s Platinum Honoree the Coastal Conservation Association Texas, were honored for providing the funds needed to jumpstart the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at A&M-Corpus Christi. The Sportfish Center has become one of the fastest growing programs at HRI thanks to their support.

“We can’t accomplish the mission of the Harte Research Institute without partners and support from the community,” said Dr. Larry McKinney, HRI’s executive director. “We can do the science but without their help, we couldn’t take that science and turn it into action. I want to express my gratitude to all of our supporters and the President for everything they have done for us.”

Once formalities concluded and all of the donors were honored, the sounds of a jazz band transported guests to a Mardi Gras inspired University Center Rotunda where they enjoyed a variety of entertainment. Aura readers and fortune tellers were the popular diversions of the evening and one lucky guest won a two-night stay in a condo located in the historic New Orleans French Quarter courtesy of Kim Erwin of Keller Williams Island Properties. Guests let loose until nearly midnight, putting a festive end to the Inauguration Weekend. 

“The University has always been good to us so we want to help students in the hopes that they will one day help others and ‘pass it forward,’” shared Jagdev Cheema.