Fire & Ice gala raises over $342K for Dixie State University needs-based scholarships

Celebrity emcee Thurl Bailey celebrates the support raised for Dixie State University needs-based scholarships at the conclusion of the live auction at The Dixie Foundation’s 15th annual Fire & Ice gala, St. George, Utah, March 22, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Alex Santiago/Dixie State University, St. George News

ST. GEORGE The Dixie Foundation’s 15th annual Fire & Ice gala garnered significant support for needs-based scholarships, raising $342,214 for Dixie State University students who may not be able to pursue a college education without financial assistance.

Auctioneer Jeff Randall, left, and celebrity emcee Thurl Bailey raise support for Dixie State University needs-based scholarships during the live auction at The Dixie Foundation’s 15th annual Fire & Ice gala, St. George, Utah, March 22, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Alex Santiago/Dixie State University, St. George News

All proceeds from the annual black-tie optional gala directly benefit Dixie State student scholarships, according to a press release from Dixie State. Put on by the all-volunteer Dixie Foundation, Fire & Ice has provided scholarships to thousands of students over the past 15 years.

“Earning an education is truly life changing for these scholarship recipients and opens the door to remarkable opportunities,” Ronda Neilson, Fire & Ice chairwoman for the Dixie Foundation, said in the press release. “It’s great to be a part of this community and foundation that gives back.”

NBA star and Utah Jazz legend Thurl Bailey served as the celebrity emcee at the gala, which included a silent auction, live auction, dinner and entertainment by Bailey and Dixie State students, faculty and staff.

“It’s absolutely amazing to see the generosity that overflows from this great community of ours,” foundation President Jeff Morby said. “Fire & Ice sponsors, donors and attendees all gave with incredible generosity to support the hard-working students who are in need of assistance to pursue their goals. It truly is amazing what these fine students can accomplish with some encouragement and support.”

One such student, Alex Hatanaka, appeared in a video that played before gala attendees and thanked them for making his educational and career goals attainable.

“As a husband and father of two beautiful children, it can be very hard to be at work and school full time and still provide emotional and financial support for my family,” Hatanaka said.

“The Fire & Ice Scholarship has allowed me to not have to worry about trying to find the resources to pay for books and tuition each semester. Because of the generosity of the many people who made the Fire & Ice Scholarship possible, I am able to continue my dream of becoming a doctor to help and heal those who need me.”

Helping students like Hatanaka is at the core of the mission of the Dixie Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Driven by the opportunity to change lives through scholarships, the foundation supports Dixie State and education in general by helping provide for the needs of the university.

“This gala would not be possible if it were not for the untold hours of preparation and work of those on the Fire & Ice committee, chaired by Ronda Neilson,” Morby said. “As a board, we thank them for their dedication and commitment to the foundation and students of Dixie State University.”

To volunteer, visit the Dixie Foundation’s website.

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