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Record-Setting Crowd Leads to Strong Scholarship Gala

March 6, 2023
2023 Scholarship Gala

The ballroom at the Boise Centre was full of energy on Friday night at the annual Scholarship Gala.

Turns out, it was a little more full than usual.

Nearly 700 guests packed the ballroom, the most ever to attend the Gala, which raises money for student scholarships at The College of Idaho. And the guests’ bids on auction items – both live auction and silent – led to the second-highest donation total in the history of the event.

The final count of $806,644 marked the second time that the Gala has raised over $800,000 for student scholarships.

“The camaraderie in the room among alumni and friends of the College is amazing to see,” said Jack Cafferty ‘97, Vice President of College Relations. “They get together annually at this event to pay it forward after experiencing the way scholarships impacted them.”

One example of the camaraderie came from John Berryhill, whose son, Gibson ’19, graduated from the College. Berryhill offered up a brunch at his Boise restaurant, BACON, for 12 guests with men’s basketball coach Colby Blaine that generated a $15,000 winning bid. Once that happened, Berryhill immediately donated a second brunch for 12 additional guests with Coach Blaine which generated an additional $15,000.

Then, in the paddle-up portion of the event, Graye and Brenda Wolfe raised their paddle to donate $50,000 to the cause, the largest single paddle-raise in Gala history. That was quickly followed by a pair of $25,000 donations.

“The momentum that created in the room was a testament to the impact of the educational experience in our community and at the College,” Cafferty said.

Kaya Evans ‘21, who recently became just the eighth College of Idaho student to receive the highly prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, spoke to the audience about the impact of scholarships on students, several of whom were invited guests at the Gala, and the impact the College made on her.

“What I truly hope is that this speech might convey a message that is broader than the sum of its parts,” Evans told the audience. “Behind and between every word in this meandering trip through my life, I hope you’ll be able to sense clearly my ‘thank you.”

To view a full gallery of images from the 2023 Scholarship Gala, click here.

The College of Idaho has a 132-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit