Wayland campus in Lubbock to host annual gala in April

March 3, 2010

LUBBOCK – The Wayland Baptist University campus in Lubbock will once again host its annual Lubbock Lights gala benefiting student scholarships, this time slated for April 6 at the Overton Hotel.

This year’s gala will focus on raising funds for the Loretta Austin Scholarship Fund, named in memory of an employee in the campus’ financial aid area who died in March 2001 after serving for three years at the campus and becoming a favorite among students and fellow employees. 

The Hub City Jazz Band will entertain during the event, which will also feature a silent auction. Formed in 2007, the Jazz Band continues the traditions and sounds of the swinging big bands of the 1940s along with the contemporary sounds as well. The band consists of high school and college music educators, along with musicians from the Lubbock area who work in such diverse occupations as engineer, physician, attorney and computer technician.

Tickets to the event are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight. Sponsorships are available for businesses or others who wish to support the scholarship effort.

Austin holds the distinction of being the first female African-American mayor of a city of more than 100,000, having served two terms as mayor of Pasadena, Calif., following a position on the city council. A talented singer, she had performed with the New Christy Minstrels and danced for The Fifth Dimension. She had also worked as a public school teacher.

Loretta moved to Lubbock to marry Elijah Austin, then-pastor of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church. She led music for the church for several years and played piano and several other churches in the area.

The goal of the Lubbock Lights Gala is to raise $30,000 for the scholarship fund in Loretta’s memory. Donations are welcome toward the fund for those unable to attend the event.

The gala planning committee consists of Adolphus Cleveland, Chairman; Elijah Austin, Linda Carpenter, Julie Childs, Steve Deaton, Hope English, Brian Felty, Ronnie Garcia, J.D., Nathan Haltom, Nita Key, J. B. Mann, Murray McNeely, J.D., Christina Truitt, Chuck Williams, Lisa Zerrata. Members of the Lubbock campus staff serving on the committee include Dr. David Bishop, executive director and campus dean; Dr. Kent Brooks, director of development; Rosemary Hendley and Barbara Pitman.

For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, contact the campus at (806) 785-9285.