Doane College Society Gala Event to Remember

Doane College Society Gala Event to Remember

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Over 300 people were brought to their feet not just once but four times Friday night at the second annual Doane College Society Gala. The night was full of emotion, surprises and laughter. 

In the ballroom of Embassy Suites in Omaha, photographs of the fantastic new Haddix Center flashed on the screen as well as heartfelt thanks from Doane coaches. The audience rose to its feet, and amid thunderous applause George Haddix '61 was brought to the stage to be honored.

"What began six or seven years ago as a dream, is now a reality," said Haddix. 

Introduced as the heart of the new Haddix Center were Rick '57 and Wanda Gibson, who the new Hall of Fame Room is named after.  Rick surprised Wanda by turning the podium over to her.  "The ceremony yesterday at the Haddix Center was beautiful. It's an awesome building and I invite you all to come take a tour of it," said Wanda before stepping back to Rick's side. 

Rick talked with emotion about his time at Doane and about the opportunity to give back.  As they left the stage, the audience rose table by table in their honor. 

Award-winning sports journalist Frank DeFord was the keynote speaker for the evening.  With humor - and quotes from his friends in the industry - DeFord spoke on the importance of sports in society.  He said a team-oriented culture and coaches that teach are instrumental in America's kids, calling the Haddix Center more than a gym but a "town hall." 

A slow drumming from the back of the room turned heads.  Ninety students from the Doane College Pep Band slowly filed into the ballroom and began playing the theme song from "Coach."  Once again, the audience rose to their feet and clapped along.

The theme song was a fitting segue to introduce the Legendary Coaches Campaign in honor of Doane coaches Fred Beile (track), Al Papik '50 (football) and the late Bob Erickson '57 (basketball).  The campaign seeks to raise $5.7 million dollars to renovate Fuhrer Field House, replace the football field and complete fundraising on the Haddix Center.  Once completed, each coach would have spaces in their honor:

  • Fred Beile Competition Arena at Fuhrer Field House
  • Al Papik Field
  • Bob Erickson Court at the Haddix Center

Jerry Wood, vice president of advancement and marketing, announced that the Peter Kiewit Foundation pledged a challenge grant of $250,000 toward the project and that to date, $1.3 million has already been raised. 

As chair of the Legendary Coaches Campaign, Rick Gibson again took the stage.  From a paper bag, Rick took out his letterman jacket and put it on talking about how football taught him many lessons outside the classroom.  "We need these facilities and if we work together like teammates in the past, we can make it happen.  We will make it happen," said Rick.    

As the Doane fight song filled the air, the audience rose for the final time, clapping and singing right along with the Pep Band, demonstrating that the Tiger spirit lives on long past graduation. 


Posted by Jacque Pomajzl on 10/4/2010 11:20:00 AM

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