What: The Texas Southern University "Maroon & Gray" Affair
Where: Marriott Marquis – Downtown
The scoop: It was a million-dollar event as Texas Southern University packed in more than 1600 distinguished faculty, alumni, politicians, board of regents and board of trustees members, and heavy-hitter donors for its annual ‘Maroon & Gray’ affair. Dr. and Mrs. Austin A. Lane welcomed the ecstatic crowd, which honored top students and outstanding alumni. The Lanes' message was clear: "Everyone needs to be dedicated to improving the University’s graduation and retention rates by ensuring a secure path for the students to manage their financial challenges. The University is dedicated to producing top scholars and graduates who will deliver expertise to our city, nation and global community." The glamorous first lady of TSU, Loren Lane, worked tirelessly with her team to ensure this was an evening to remember.
As a grand start to the program, Ocean of Soul (the TSU Marching Band) entered from both sides of the massive ballroom, tunes blazing. As Ocean of Soul performed, the award-winning teams were brought in to add to the excitement: debate, women’s bowling, and men’s basketball. Mayor Sylvester Turner, a former professor of the university, offered heartfelt words about his love for TSU and the students. Emcees Deborah Duncan and Billy Sorrells entertained the crowd, while keynote speaker, Tamron Hall (the first African-American host of NBC's Today) took to the stage. The Honorable Rodney Ellis and The Honorable Senfronia Thompson were then bestowed Outstanding Alumni awards. The Lanes also presented Outstanding Student awards to Mr. Aaron Dallas II and Ms. Camille Mills (both of whom will benefit from the scholarship fund).
After the announcement that the gala brought in more than $1,000,000 for scholarships (and after the raffle for the two-year lease on a new Lincoln — donated by Bayway Lincoln — was announced), a confetti canon erupted, and R&B group En Vouge got the party started. The '90s trio performed hits including “Never Gonna Get It,” “Free Your Mind,” and “Whatta Man.”
Who: Alaina Benford, Melinda Spaulding Chevalier, Argentina James Harris, Pam Ellis, Carla Lane, Linda Bell, Jacquie Fair, Christopher McClain, Rhonda Johnson, Shawnica and Sheldon Moss, District Attorney Kim Ogg, Kim Odom, Tiffany Davis, Catherine Shoppa, Rachel Henson, The Honorable Rodney Ellis, The Honorable Senfronia Thompson, and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee.