Black Student Union to host annual gala tonight

Posted on Feb 3 2017 - 8:01am by Kiara Manning

The Black History Month Gala is more than a formal gathering, it is a celebration of culture and diversity to students and staff.

The gala is hosted by the Black Student Union on Feb. 3 at The Inn at Ole Miss; the fourth annual gala will take place at the university. Tickets are available at the Gertrude C. Ford Center box office. 

Terrius Harris, a senior marketing and corporate relations major, is the gala organizer.  

“With new and innovative creations from the social scene to the recognition of our campus and community, it is bound to be a night you will not forget,” Harris said.

The night will begin with a speech from Ole Miss alumna Rose Flenorl, who will serve as the keynote speaker. Flenorl is also the Chair for the University of Mississippi Foundation.  Afterwards, an awards ceremony will recognize people for their accolades in various fields, including the field of athletics.

Harris said there will be many special guests in attendance, from Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter to renowned alumni, as well as others.

“We have been planning for this event since approximately October of fall 2016,” Harris said. “With The Inn at Ole Miss being such a popular place to host events here in Oxford, we only had two choices of dates to host the gala, which caused it to be earlier than normal this year. Consequently, we had to start planning extremely early in order to finalize crucial details before the end of the fall semester.”

Harris said he wants people to leave the gala feeling refreshed, energized and filled with hope. He said he wants people to know that no matter what happens in the future of this campus and nation, there are everyday people awarded that night.

Harris said he believes each year brings new perspective and growth to not only the gala but also to the organization. He said planners look to past galas when preparing.

Harris said his favorite part about the gala is the recognition during the awards ceremony.

“Although we are not able to recognize everyone on campus, it is seeing the smiles on the faces of the winners that night, surprised and caught in the moment, that truly makes it all worth it,” Harris said. “I am a deep believer that no good deed must go unnoticed.”

He said his heart fills with warmth as each person at the gala is recognized.

“It takes a lot of people working hard and a lot of small details while planning this event,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement and one of the gala’s organizers.”The gala is definitely one of our signature events and will be a highlight of the month.”
Mead said the gala is an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to come together for a formal event to really kick off black history month.
“What we love is that the event is an opportunity to recognize contributions of students and faculty and alumni who have made contributions,” Mead said.

Junior exercise science major D’Allegra Cochran will be attending the gala for the first time.

Cochran said she really appreciates the whole aspect of the celebration.

“I think this it’s a great way to bring both students and faculty of all ethnicities together for a night full of fun,” Cochran said. “I kind of compare it to a formal that everyone can attend no matter if they’re involved in different programs or organizations on campus or not.”