A glittering gala celebrates the past and looks to the future
by Elaine Cole
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by Elaine Cole
The Neeley School of Business capped off its 75th anniversary at a November gala that included a blast from the past and a glimpse of future plans.
An audience of more than 600 alumni, faculty, staff, students, administrators and friends gathered for the gala titled “Diamonds & Ice” held at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. Festivities began with a cocktail hour featuring photographs from the Neeley School’s past, actors dressed in ’40s and ’50s attire, retro lighting and décor, and big band tunes from Trey and the Tritones.
At 7:30 p.m., guests received a text message notifying them that the gala was beginning. The doors opened to the ballroom featuring high-definition screens that covered an entire wall. Purple and silver diamonds and ice cubes cascaded across the screens as Neil Diamond’s “Headed to the Future” played.
Bob McCann, ’82 MBA, chief executive officer of UBS Americas, welcomed guest via video.
‘”My best wishes to the Neeley School for its continued success,” he said. “It’s a great school with a great history and, most importantly, the best days of the Neeley School are ahead. Go Frogs!”
During the program, guests were surprised with a hologram of M.J. Neeley, who reflected on the past and chatted with O. Homer Erekson ’74, the John V. Roach dean of the school, about the future.
“Mr. Neeley, I can’t tell you what an honor this is,” Erekson said. “What a blast from the past!”
After dinner, Erekson announced the gala and other anniversary-related efforts had helped raise more than $300,000 for undergraduate scholarships.
He recognized the gala committee, sponsors and the 2013 Neeley Alumni Business of the Year, Calloway’s Nursery, led by Jim Estill ’69 BBA (MBA ’77). Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England ’75 MBA presented the Bob Bolen Civic Leadership Award to Matt Rose, chairman and chief executive officer of BNSF Railway.
The screens then flashed with Neeley alumni, students, faculty and staff singing “Headed for the Future” in a virtual choir, followed by videos from the Purple Ball Pit contest, and congratulatory messages from Chancellor Boschini and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton ’10 BBA.
The evening ended with children walking among the crowd as plans for the future space for the Neeley School flashed across the screens. The children, wearing purple T-shirts with their TCU graduation dates, took the stage and texted the audience their thanks for supporting the future of the Neeley School of Business at TCU.
Steve Litke ’90 BBA said he was glad that many of the details of the evening were kept secret. “It certainly lived up to its billing of commemorating the Neeley 75th anniversary in a spectacular fashion.”
Chris Kleinert ’92 MBA said the gala was one of the most fun and unique events he and his wife, Ashlee, had ever attended.
“The Neeley School and TCU overall have never been in a better spot and the future is looking even more amazing. I am incredibly proud to be an alum!”
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