Embracing new possibilities was the central theme of Warner Pacific College’s second annual “Afternoon Tea with the President” fundraiser, which drew nearly 300 women to McGuire Auditorium April 9.
Through table sponsorships, a silent auction, and individual donations, the event raised $25,000 in scholarship funds for female students – twice as much as the previous year’s tea.
“The incredible participation affirms the vision and mission of Warner Pacific to create opportunities for young women who directly benefit from this event,” said college president Andrea P. Cook, Ph.D., who hosted the event. “I am grateful for the outpouring of generosity.”
The featured speaker of the tea was award-winning Oregon author Jane Kirkpatrick, who shared her personal story of starting a successful literary career in midlife only after moving to a remote Eastern Oregon ranch, eleven miles from the nearest paved road.
“We have a sign on [our] gate. It says ‘We seek neither convenience nor ease, but to live at the edge of possibility,’” said Kirkpatrick. “Some of those challenging moments in our lives are the step toward the richness and goodness that we never would have imagined.”
The former director of the mental health program in Deschutes County, Oregon, Kirkpatrick has written 20 books, including 17 historical novels, and is a nominee for a 2011 Oregon Book Award for fiction. Kirkpatrick encouraged audience members to take courage and choose the experiences they want to have and value their personal stories.
“Stories are the most powerful way we have of organizing human experience,” said Kirkpatrick. “That’s how we transfer culture from one generation to the next.”
Guests also heard emotional testimony from incoming Warner Pacific student Gimena Olguin, a senior at Tualatin High School. Olguin, who has lived both in Oregon and Mexico, will be the first member of her family to attend college thanks to a four-year Act Six leadership and scholarship initiative, which supports students who hope to use their education to improve their home communities.
“All that pain that my parents [experience] everyday looking for a job knowing that they could be stable in Mexico was worth me trying my hardest to pay them back,” Olguin said.
Finally, the tea featured the debut of Warner Pacific’s new men’s vocal ministry ensemble, as well as a performance by the Warner Pacific jazz quartet. The third annual “Afternoon Tea with the President” is scheduled for Saturday, April 14, 2012. The guest speaker will be announced at a later date.
Listen to Jane's Presentation: