On Thursday night, more than 100 students and faculty members attended Stanford’s first annual Awards Gala and Dinner, a celebration intended to recognize student achievements and contributions to the community. Event organizers said they hoped the gala will become a permanent fixture on campus.
“We want this to be a new Stanford tradition – an opportunity for Stanford students to recognize the hard work and service to the community that these individuals do, and hopefully it serves as inspiration for the rest of the Stanford body,” said Imani Parker-Fong ’15, one of the event organizers.
Julie Lythcott-Haims ’89, associate vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, hosted the event, which featured performances by various student groups and the presentation of awards. While awards are usually presented individually by different organizations – for example, the Alumni Association and the ASSU – this was the first time that all awards were presented together.
Awards include the The Stanford Fund (TSF) Partnership Program Award, the Deans’ Award, the Lyons Award, the Sterling Award, the Oustanding Achievement Award, ASSU Teacher of the Year, and ASSU Voluntary Student Organization (VSO) of the Year.
The Bridge Peer Counseling Center took home the last award.
“For us as an organization, it’s a nice way to communicate to other groups that we want to be a center for mental health on campus, and be more of a center of gravity than we are now,” said Devney Hamilton ’13, a peer counselor at The Bridge Peer Counseling Center. “Hopefully it’ll get more people interested in getting involved.”
Parker-Fong and David Dindi ’15 organized the gala, under the mentorship of former ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 and former ASSU Executive Chief of Staff Lina Hidalgo ’13. Student groups such as FleetStreet, Mixed Company, Kayumanggi, Mariachi Cardenal and the StanfordOrchestra performed at the event.
By hosting a gala open to all of the Stanford community, the organizers said they aimed to be inclusive to others beyond the award recipients. In addition to entertainment, the formal event also offered free dinner for all those attending.
“It was cool seeing what other people are doing, taking time to showcase a small sample of what’s going on around campus,” Hamilton said.
This year, the TSF Partnership Program Award was presented to Raagapella, Colleges Against Cancer, Stanford Triathlon and Stanford Taiko. The Deans’ Award was given to the SolarCarProject, Ram’s Head, Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program and the Stanford Concert Network.
The Lyons Award was given to Steven Crane ’11, James Estrella III ’14, Anna Doty ’12, Erica Fernandez ’12, Sarah Hennessy ’12, Katie Jaxheimer ’12, Stephen Trusheim ’13 and Marc Shaub, a graduate student in computer science. The Sterling Award was given to Jack Trotter ’12. The Outstanding Achievement Award was given to Tenzin Seldon ’12 and Michael Tubbs ’12. Associate Director of African and African American Studies Cheryl Brown and Artist-in-Residence at the Drama Department Cherrie Moraga both received the ASSU Teacher of the Year award.
Remound Wright ’15 attended the gala to support friends.
“The gala was great,” Wright said. “It was nice seeing the performances, and honoring and seeing people who do amazing things here at Stanford.”
Organizers said the event was designed to inspire students to take advantage of the opportunities around them.
“Students can benefit because it enlightens them to things that they may not know about that are going on around campus,” Wright said. “They may discover something that they themselves want to do, and wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t attended. Plus, it’s just good to show support to fellow students.”