Ten years ago, Jill Villasana was a senior at Hickman High School with dreams of attending MU.
Thanks to a scholarship program through the Mizzou Alumni Association, she was able to.
Villasana was one of two graduating seniors to receive a $5,000 scholarship from the organization in 1997 to cover her freshman-year costs.
“It paid for all my tuition and fees,” she said.
Villasana went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in social studies education at MU. She now teaches government and economics at Jefferson Junior High School and is president of the Boone County chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association.
Thursday night, Villasana and other members of the Mizzou Alumni Association will help 2007 graduating seniors achieve their desire to go to MU when they host “Mizzou Night with the Arts,” a fundraising event featuring a silent and live auction and music from the Missouri Symphony Society.
The scholarship program, which was started 10 years ago, awards two scholarships each year to Boone County high school seniors who have a strong desire to stay in Columbia. The scholarships pay for the students’ freshman year of college, with one of the scholarships also offering $1,000 for the student’s other years at MU.
“The scholarships are for students who want to go to Mizzou,” said Larry Fuller, co-chair of “Mizzou Night with the Arts.”
Fuller said the Boone County chapter has awarded approximately $200,000 in scholarship monies over the past decade and pays for the students’ freshman year of college.
The alumni association has held different types of fundraising events in the past, but six years ago, decided an art night would be a good way to help them raise money.
During the auctions, attendees will be able to bid on prizes such as dinner with Mayor Darwin Hindman and his wife or dinner with MU wrestling coach, Brian Smith. Four MU football tickets for the MU vs. Illinois State game and MU basketball memorabilia, including a basketball signed by legendary MU coach, Norm Stewart, will also be available.
Artwork from local artists will also be on display during the event and will be available for purchase throughout the night.
The event does more than just help graduating seniors.
Proceeds from the event will also benefit the Missouri Symphony Society’s Youth Orchestra.
Kanani May, director of public relations for the Missouri Symphony Society and the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, said the symphony uses the money to create scholarships for members of the orchestra who range in age from 8 to 17. Tuition to be a part of the symphony costs $200 a year, and the scholarships help young people who want to join to be able to do so, she said.
“Those who most need it are able to get the assistance,” she said.
For the first time, money from the event will also go to the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, which will have three pieces on display.
Fuller said the collection was selected because it’s a very different type of art to which people need to be exposed.
“People don’t realize what’s in the collection, what it has to offer,” he said about the fashion art.