At the fifth annual Augusta University President’s Gala, friends, neighbors and university supporters rediscovered the spirit of childhood while helping to ensure generations of special young patients at Children’s Hospital of Georgia will receive the care they need to play, learn and grow.
On the evening of Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, and his wife, First Lady Tammie Schalue, PhD, welcomed guests to Augusta’s Daniel Field Airport for the President’s Gala. The black-tie event featured dinner, dancing and a tombola raffle, with proceeds benefiting programs, research and facility enhancements at Children’s Hospital of Georgia, the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital. In its short history, the President’s Gala has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events on our community’s calendar — and one of the most enjoyable.
“Every gala has been unique, but what has impressed me the most is that they have all been fun,” Dr. Keel said. “Guests enjoy getting together and seeing old friends. The gala is like a family reunion.”
Philanthropy Takes Flight
That spirit of fellowship was on full display at this year’s gala, which was held in an unconventional and unforgettable setting — a restored hangar at Daniel Field Airport. The festivities began with a cocktail reception in a spacious tent outside the hangar. In keeping with the evening’s theme of celebrating childhood, many guests sported colorful, whimsical attire. Seeing how attendees expressed their inner child through fashion was a highlight of the event for many, including Dr. Keel.
“Tammie and I always look forward to interacting with guests, but the theme of this year’s event made that experience extra enjoyable,” he said. “It was a treat to see how people expressed themselves and their take on the theme of childhood with their attire.”
After a short program about Children’s Hospital of Georgia and a video highlighting its patients, the doors of the hangar rolled away to reveal a space decorated to celebrate children’s special connection to nature. Colorful animal images and child-like motifs filled the hangar and provided a memorable backdrop to a sumptuous strolling dinner and night of dancing to music by The Company Band. Many guests went home with outstanding prizes from the tombola raffle. “The gala emphasized the wonder of Children’s Hospital of Georgia and the patients we serve,” Dr. Keel said. “The event was a celebration of why we were there, which was to support a truly special place.”
The gala would not have been possible without the work of the 2019 President’s Gala Committee, which consisted of the 2019 Children’s Hospital of Georgia Advisory Board and several community members.
“Everyone on the committee is a volunteer who loves Augusta University and Children’s Hospital of Georgia,” Dr. Keel said. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the committee and the gala’s sponsors.”
A Growing Tradition
The President’s Gala is a relatively new event, but it has touched the lives of people across the Augusta University campus and beyond. Dr. Keel started the event in 2015 shortly after he assumed the role of President. At first, the event celebrated great things happening across Augusta University, but it has evolved to highlight specific programs and what they mean to students, staff and the community. Past galas have helped fund athletic scholarships and the College of Science and Mathematics, among other programs and services. The 2018 President’s Gala raised nearly $250,000 for scholarships for students of the Katherine Reese Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. This year’s beneficiary was no less worthy.
Families from every corner of our region depend on the comprehensive services of Children’s Hospital of Georgia, and many of these families would otherwise have to travel long distances to access the same care. Guests who attended the 2019 President’s Gala — and all supporters of Children’s Hospital of Georgia — can be proud that their generosity helps children receive essential preventive and treatment services.
“Children’s Hospital of Georgia can’t carry out its mission without the support of our community,” Dr. Keel said. “No one wants their children to get sick, but when that happens, it’s important to be able to turn to a facility that offers outstanding care from highly trained providers in a soothing environment. Events such as the President’s Gala help make that possible.”
A Place for Precious Patients
Celebrating its 21st year in 2019, Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital and is home to board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians in a wide variety of pediatric specialties. Leading-edge services, techniques and technologies are hallmarks of the hospital, which features our area’s only nationally accredited and certified pediatric echocardiography lab, a Pediatric Transport Team that can care for seriously ill or injured children en route to the hospital, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which is a highly specialized type of life support.
Proceeds from the 2019 Augusta University President’s Gala will benefit Children’s Hospital of Georgia and enhance its ability to provide every child with the care he or she needs to thrive. That includes potential treatments of the future currently under development.
“The research our scientists are conducting at Children’s Hospital of Georgia is a big part of what makes the hospital unique,” said Brooks A. Keel, PhD, President of Augusta University. “This is translational research conducted in the laboratory that may lead to a new therapy or drug to help us cure some of the terrible diseases affecting our young patients.”
The Children’s Hospital of Georgia has the largest team of general pediatricians, adolescent medicine physicians and pediatric specialists in the Augusta area. To make an appointment, visit augustahealth.org/kids or call 706-721-KIDS (5437).