Gala kicks off public phase of The Campaign for TCU
University celebrates $155 raised so far.
From the door of the giant air-conditioned tent on the TCU Commons Lawn in early Arpil, the hundreds of guests could see the unfinished Brown-Lupton University Union.
Turning around inside the tent, guests were greeted by a 3-foot-tall edible replica of the new union, decorated in fondant.
The staff from Creme de la Creme bakery worked on the cake's design for several weeks, bakery owner Jamie Holder said.
"But the hardest part was moving it here," Holder said. "It took many a helping hand."
TCU officials were saying the same thing as the school embarked on the public phase of a $250 million fundraising effort called The Campaign for TCU: It has taken many a helping hand to raise $155 million in the leadership phase of the campaign and more will be needed to raise $95 million more.
The campaign is scheduled to end in 2012.
"We're at 62 percent of our goal," said Don Whelan, vice chancellor for advancement. "We see this as a historic event for the university."
The tent was set up for a gala that started with a serious program in Ed Landreth Auditorium with a speech by TV journalist Bob Schieffer, honorary chairman of the campaign, and musical performances by pianist Alexey Koltakov with the TCU Symphony Orchestra and selections by the TCU Concert Chorale.
Later in the evening, Schieffer appeared again, this time with the Honky Tonk Confidential band.
The band has been thinking about a special song for the event for quite a while, according to Diana Quinn, a singer and guitar player who is also a writer-producer at CBS News.
After considering a horned-frog-themed song, Quinn said, the band decided to go with Fort Worth Dallas, one of four songs written by Schieffer on the band's latest CD, Road Kill Stew and Other News.
"Bob always said it was Fort Worth first, before Dallas," Quinn said. "Tonight we thought it would be a good song to start a movement to actually change the name from D-FW."
Schieffer, moderator of CBS' Face the Nation, is the namesake of TCU's Schieffer School of Journalism and a 1959 TCU graduate.
Head football coach Gary Patterson was scheduled to sing a couple of tunes with the band.
"It's an exciting night to have Schieffer back in town [considering] all the things we are going to accomplish," Patterson said a couple of hours before the show. "I'm just glad to be a part of it."
At the end of 2007, TCU had a $1.224 billion endowment, but officials hope that money raised by The Campaign for TCU will make special projects possible.
Among the projects Whelan mentioned are reducing the student-teacher ratio from 14-to-1 to 13-to-1; increasing the number of endowed chairs; building a new rehearsal hall for the music school; and building an Olympic sports facility.
"We really feel good" about the campaign's success to date, said campaign Chairman Matthew Rose, president and chief executive officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe. "We think we've got a real compelling vision."
Patterson said he would join the band on Smalltown Saturday Night and Your Mama Don't Dance.
Patterson said he was not nervous about singing in front of the crowd.
"I'll try not to screw it up," Patterson said. "I'll let the pros do the work. They can cover anything."
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