TWU gala raises $500,000

This Christmas, Preston Manning and TWU ‘Think Big’: gala raises $500,000

Langley, B.C.—Key figures from Vancouver’s corporate community gave TWU an early Christmas gift, donating 500K in response to the black-tie gala, Christmas in the City. The formal and festive event took place Sunday, November 30th, attracting notable guests, including statesman Preston Manning, the evening’s keynote speaker. Drawing on themes from his new book, Manning encouraged guests to ‘Think Big’ as he challenged the audience to think about how a university focused on developing servant leaders can make a positive difference in Canada.

And though Christmas in the City exists to celebrate the festive season with TWU’s Vancouver partners, it’s also intended to increase awareness about TWU and raise money for TWU’s leadership initiatives—including student scholarships, student development programs and more. As a great start to the sold-out event, an anonymous donor underwrote the cost of the extravagant evening and offered to match any donation made during the gala, to a maximum of $250,000. And in keeping with the spirit of generosity, each guest will receive a copy of Manning’s book, ‘Think Big’, the cost of which was underwritten by Ronald Blue & Company, Canada.

Doris Olafsen, TWU’s Vice President for Advancement was pleased with the prestigious keynote speaker, the gifted musicians, and the elegant atmosphere, but for her the most important part of the event is something different.

“The best part about the gala is that it allows guests to experience TWU first hand,” she says. “And that doesn’t come from a program, but from the story-tellers.” The ‘story-tellers’ Olafsen refers to are the senior level TWU students who hosted the tables.

“We’re training future leaders to be contributors in the marketplace,” says Olafsen. “We’re introducing these students to leaders who are making a difference in Canada right now, and in turn we want to inspire those leaders with what we’re doing. Christmas in the City is intended to be an experience, and an experience that gives hope.”

Terry-Lynn Dryfhout, the event chair, acknowledges that Christmas in the City would not have been possible without the committee of numerous high profile women. “This was no doubt a team effort,” she says. “There were about eight key players who were the driving force of the event—using their influence to secure sponsorship and ensure a sold-out event. Without them, the evening would not have been the all-around success we’re experiencing now.”

Sharol Josephson, the former host of Life Network’s Canadian Living Television and a TWU alumna, wove the evening together as Christmas in the City’s returning emcee. Musical features included Lonnie Delisle, also a distinguished alumnus who, in recent years, has been a featured tenor soloist and keyboardist for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s gospel concerts. Delisle performed an enchanting duet with Eva Newman while Les Nerling, a graduate of McGill and Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, accompanied on piano. Younger features also included Roxi Dykstra and Jessica Hannula, TWU students who played the viola and the harp, respectively.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,500 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping