Brittany Wilson, Co-Editor-in-Chief, The Whetstone

Senior Courtney Gross, along with eight other Wesley students, attended the 7th annual Wesley Society Gala on Feb. 10 at Maple Dale Country Club in Dover, where many of the College’s top donors were honored.

Gross said the event not only expresses appreciation to some of Wesley’s supporters, but also helps to put things into perspective for them.

“It is one thing to have a fancy party and celebrate the donors, but it is a whole other thing to have something tangible,” she said. “Something that you can look at and say, ‘this is where my money is going.’ Donors aren’t just giving money to some abstract institution where it just disappears into the abyss; they are giving money to the students who are physically there.”

The students were nominated by their academic departments to meet and express their appreciation to some of the college’s top donors—members of the Wesley Society, members of the 1873 Legacy Circle, and their guests.

Director of Development Cathy Nosel said the Wesley Society is comprised of leadership donors who contribute $1,000 or more to Wesley College each year. Members include alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, community members, parents/former parents, businesses, and other friends of the College.

Nosel said the purpose of the event, which is paid for by sponsors, is to thank donors and give them an opportunity to meet some of the students who benefit from their generosity.

“They can learn how their gifts impact the educational experience at Wesley,” she said.

Even though the event was postponed from its original date in January, Nosel said more than 130 of the 300 invited donors and guests were still able to attend.

After the cocktail hour, everyone gathered in the dining room, where a Wesley student sat at each of the tables.

“I think my favorite part of the night was dinner because I got to talk to the donors at my table,” Gross said. “Instead of them learning about me and my life at Wesley, I got to learn about them and why they chose Wesley.”

Junior Ed Brandenburg said he also enjoyed talking with the guests at the event.

“Most of the donors asked me why I chose Wesley because I am from Wisconsin and it amazed them that I found little ol’ Wesley,” he said. “But others also asked me what I planned to do after I graduated college and what my future career plans were.”

After dinner, Gross, Brandenburg and senior Kevin Johnson sat on stage to answer any questions donors posed.

“I enjoyed partaking in the panel because we could voice how Wesley impacted our lives and shine a light on some areas of need here at Wesley,” she said.

Nosel and Brandenburg said the panel was their favorite part of the event.

“They did a great job,” Nosel said. “All of the student participants were very engaged with our guests and represented Wesley in such a professional manner, we were very proud of them all.”