Skip to main content

Scholarship Gala Tops $1 Million in Donations

March 5, 2024

Friday marked the eighth Scholarship Gala for Deidre Walters, Director of Development at The College of Idaho, and, when it was done, she sent a note out to campus leadership about what had just happened.

“I still don’t have the words to express the gratitude that we have for what happened in that room,” Walters said. “It was nothing short of amazing. It was an incredible feeling.”

One night: over $1 million raised to support student scholarships at The College of Idaho. The 2024 Scholarship Gala left people searching for the words to express their gratitude and appreciation. Co-President Doug Brigham graduated from the College in 1987 and says the event allows alumni to open doors for current students.

“It helps you reflect for a minute on, ‘somebody helped make it possible for me to be at The College of Idaho. I’m going to pay it forward for the next generation,’” Brigham said.

The official total of $1,053,599 was – by far – the largest amount ever raised by guests at the Gala, surpassing the previous high by nearly a quarter of a million dollars ($810,000 in 2022). The evening started with dinner and a silent auction. Then, a crowd of more than 600 supporters heard the story of junior Carmen Castillo, a biomedical science major who was planning to attend another institution. But, with the encouragement of Marcia Wing ’76, Castillo was able to change her path due to the scholarships available at the College.

“Carmen epitomizes what we do here and why this is a great investment,” Co-President Jim Everett said. “There’s a lot of students just like her on this campus and that’s the win from Friday – the students who get a chance to be on this campus.”

All the money raised at the annual Scholarship Gala goes to fund student scholarships. The three highest donation totals for the Gala have come in the past three years, including Friday’s million-dollar night.

“I was blown away. I never would have thought we would ever see that kind of number, at least in my time with the College,” said Brigham, who has served the College alongside Everett as co-presidents since 2018. “I think it tells you how much people believe in the College, the importance of the College, and the importance of making the College accessible for all students.”

It won’t be long before Walters and her staff, which works behind the scenes to make the evening a success, begin planning the next Scholarship Gala.

“How do you top it?” Walters wondered aloud. “The YoteFam always surprises us, so we’ll see what happens next year.”

A full gallery of images from the 2024 Scholarship Gala can be seen here.

You can view Carmen Castillo’s Gala message here.

The College of Idaho has a 133-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