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AZ: Midwestern University Honors Community Leaders, Raises Scholarship Funds at Annual Bright Lights, Shining Stars Gala

November 03, 2015

by Office of Communications

L to R: Arthur G. Dobbelaere, Ph.D., MWU Executive Vice President and COO; Sandi Ernst Perez, Ph.D.; Scott Bohall; and Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., MWU President and CEO.

Academic, healthcare, business, and community leaders from around the Valley of the Sun joined together at Midwestern University on Saturday, October 17 at the annual Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala, which recognizes and honors individuals for their commitment to community service and leadership. The event was held at Midwestern University at 19555 North 59th Avenue, Glendale, Arizona.

Sandi Ernst Perez, Ph.D., Vice President of Communications and Community Benefit for Delta Dental of Arizona, received the 2015 COMET (Community Outreach: Motivating Excellence for Tomorrow) Award, which recognizes her outstanding service to the oral health and welfare of children and adults. Dr. Perez oversees the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation and works to fulfill its mission of improving the oral health of underserved and uninsured populations across the state by educating the public and increasing awareness, and by providing grants, leadership, and technical assistance.

In the community, Dr. Perez currently serves as the Chair of the Board of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, on the Board of the Children's Museum of Phoenix, as a steering committee member for "Oral Health for All Arizonans" Association, and on other advisory groups. Named a prominent "Woman in Business" in Arizona over the last three years, she received the 2015 Kids at Heart Award from the Children's Museum of Phoenix for outstanding individual community leadership.

Dr. Perez earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in Arizona for more than 20 years and currently resides in Scottsdale with her husband, two children, and four rescue dogs.  

The COMET Award was presented to Dr. Perez by Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University.

In addition to the COMET Award, Dr. Goeppinger presented the 2015 Shooting Star Award to Mr. Scott Bohall for his commitment to the local community. Mr. Bohall and his wife Danielle co-founded Treasures Custom Jewelers in 1991 in Peoria, and in 2001 they moved to their current location at 67th Ave and the 101 in Glendale.  Treasures has won more design awards than any jeweler in Arizona and is the only jeweler in the country to win a national secret shopper pricing award and the State of Arizona design award in the same year.  Mr. Bohall has served as President of the Arizona Jewelers Association and continues to serve the Arizona jewelry industry.

Mr. Bohall donates his time and energy to over 30 civic and non-profit organizations such as the West Valley Arts Council, Hospice of the Valley, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arizona DECA, and the Persons with Disabilities Commission. Mr. Bohall also teaches classes in marketing and entrepreneurship at local high schools.  

"The Midwestern University Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala is truly a community event bringing many friends of the University together to share in our growth while providing scholarship monies for our healthcare students. Our award recipients this year are wonderful examples of generosity and service within our community," said Dr. Goeppinger.

Five Spirit of Service scholarships were also awarded at the gala to students representing two Midwestern University colleges for the 2015-2016 academic year. Scholarship recipients included: Darren Chugg from the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona (CDMA); and Anna Darbonne-Bjørndal, Christina Derenge, Alexxandria Meneses, and Shirley Yang from the College of Health Sciences (CHS-Glendale) Clinical Psychology Program. The Spirit of Service scholarship program recognizes outstanding Midwestern University students based on community service, leadership abilities, academic standing, and financial need.

The black-tie-optional event, which raises over $100,000 annually in scholarship funds for students in all of Midwestern University's colleges, also featured a formal dinner, live entertainment, and a silent auction.

More Information

For more information, please contact:
Office of Communications
630.515.7333 (IL) or 623.572.3353 (AZ)