Founded in 1842, Cumberland University is now 172 years old, and the Phoenix Ball turned 31 Saturday as its premiere fundraiser.
The theme was “A Game Changer” because Cumberland is currently focused on its athletic programs and its historic move to the NCAA. It’s a move expected to be confirmed next month.
Following a cocktail reception and silent auction participation, attendees at the 31st annual Phoenix Ball filed into the Dallas Floyd Gym for dinner and a program. Phillip Carter, executive director of communications, introduced Harvill Eaton, Cumberland’s president, who explained the Phoenix Ball was started 31 years earlier as a fundraiser to enable the university to give scholarships to deserving students.
“The moves we are making both athletically and academically are changing our university for the better so that our students and graduates are prepared to meet all of the challenges of our rapidly changing society,” said Eaton. “Your attendance tonight is also a game changer because it is an investment in our future, and in the future of our students. It is especially because of those students that I offer my most sincere thanks.”
Cumberland baseball coach Woody Hunt was also introduced Saturday evening. Hunt recently led the Bulldogs to their third NAIA national championship.
Linlee and Brandon Allen, who played host to the annual Patron’s Party at their beautiful riverside home Thursday, were also recognized. The Allens were also invited to open dancing for the evening when the Pat Patrick Band took the stage to play until 1 a.m. through the late night party and breakfast.
Agee and Johnson auctioneer Jay White conducted the live auction prior to dinner. An ultimate sports fan package brought $4,000; a 2014 Phoenix Ball medallion by Cox’s Jewelry brought $2,000; a president’s dinner for 10 netted $3,000; and a last-minute entry of a baseball jersey signed by all the members of Cumberland’s championship team brought an additional $1,600, making a total of $10,600 raised from the live auction.
About 50 people remained on the floor when the band closed the festivities at 1 a.m.
The Lebanon Democrat will bring expanded coverage of the 31st Phoenix Ball in the weekend edition’s Living section.
For more photos from the event, click here.