Academic, healthcare, business, and community leaders from around the Valley of the Sun joined together at Midwestern University on Saturday, October 15 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 the University's Glendale Campus at 19555 North 59th Avenue.
This year, Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University, presented the 2016 COMET (Community Outreach: Motivating Excellence for Tomorrow) Award to William D. Andrews, M.B.A., Chair of the Midwestern University Board of Trustees. The COMET Award recognizes Mr. Andrews' dedication and commitment to healthcare education for more than 30 years. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1984 and served on the Nominating Committee and as Chair of the Finance Committee for many years. Mr. Andrews is a retired Executive Vice President at Stein Roe & Farnham, Inc., in Chicago, Illinois, where he directed the firm's fixed income investment management activities. He is a graduate of Wabash College and received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business.
In addition to the COMET Award, Dr. Goeppinger presented the 2016 Shooting Star Award to Mr. Gerald L. Wissink, FACHE, for his continuing work and numerous contributions in the health-related nonprofit industry for over 40 years. Mr. Wissink is a founding Board Member and the Chief Executive Officer of BHHS Legacy Foundation, an Arizona nonprofit, charitable hospital conversion foundation, and of Legacy Connection, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity and fundraising affiliate of the Foundation. Mr. Wissink is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on numerous Arizona nonprofit advisory boards. He received his M.B.A. from the University of Iowa and completed his Hospital Administration education at St. Louis University.
"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 service and commitment to healthcare education and community outreach," said Dr. Goeppinger.
Five Spirit of Service scholarships were awarded at the gala to students representing two Midwestern University colleges for the 2016-2017 academic year. Scholarship recipients include: Amanda Gill, Hunter Housley, and Alexandra Sales from the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona (CDMA); Kolette Butler from the College of Health Sciences (CHS-Glendale) Clinical Psychology Program; and David Kapplan from the College of Health Sciences Nurse Anesthesia 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.