Texas Southern University held its inaugural Maroon and Gray Affair on April 29 at the Marriott Marquis Houston and raised in excess of $800,000 in scholarship money for deserving TSU students. More than 1,100 people were in attendance. Texas Southern’s award-winning Ocean of Soul marching band opened the evening with a thunderous performance. Nephew Tommy, comedian and radio personality on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, and Melinda Spaulding from Fox News Houston served as the masters of ceremonies.
The Maroon & Gray Affair was conceived by TSU’s President Dr. Austin A. Lane and First Lady Loren Lane as a means to present an evening of elegance in support of student scholarships and programs. The black-tie event recognized four top students and two outstanding alumni.
“It was a dynamic evening to celebrate all of the wonderful aspects of Texas Southern. The gala allowed us to celebrate our best and brightest students and dedicated alumni,” said Mrs. Lane. “We are grateful to all who joined us to support higher education and those who will make a positive contribution to society.”
Brianna Batiste, a finance major from Southern California; Anthony Collier, a political science major from Manor, Texas; Ashtyn Duncan, an accounting major from Houston; and Kaleb Taylor, a political science major from Missouri City, Texas, were recognized for their academic and civic accomplishments. Alumni honorees included Alaina Benford, an attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from TSU and her Juris Doctorate from the TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law; and Tony Wyllie, vice president of communications for the Washington Redskins, who earned a degree in communication from TSU.
“Texas Southern is elated to honor our fantastic students and accomplished alumni. The University family is buoyed by the support of our stakeholders and friends. This gala will allow us to continue the critical work of serving as a special-purpose institution for the most deserving students,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane.
Judy Smith, founder and president of Smith & Company and inspiration for the hit television show Scandal who is an acclaimed crisis management expert, recounted her role as a White House advisor in a question-and-answer session with Spaulding.
Turner Construction, Challenge Office Products, Marie Bosarge/Music Doing Good, and AL&H Custom Homes/Southwest Wholesale were Presenting and Founder Sponsors.
Notable guests at The Maroon & Gray Affair included Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green, State Senator Borris Miles, Texas Representatives Alma Allen, Jarvis Johnson, Ron Reynolds, and Shawn Thierry, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Houston Councilman Jerry Davis, HISD Board President Wanda Adams, HISD Board members Rhonda Skillern-Jones and Jolanda Jones, Texas Southern University Board of Regents members Wesley Terrell, Derrick Mitchell, Glenn Lewis, Marilyn Rose, Samuel Bryant Oliver Bell and Tramauni Brock, and Harris County Justice of the Peace Zinetta Burney (Precinct 7-2).