The We Love Northern Ball brought many members of the Hi-Line area and notable figures with interest in the university together for a night of dancing and festivities Saturday in support of Montana State University-Northern academics.
"I believe the ball met and exceeded our expectations to have an event that allowed people to have a good time," MSU-N Chancellor James Limbaugh said. He added that giving a attendees a chance to meet the students of MSU-N was one of the best parts of the event, as it gave donors a chance to see where their money was going. Limbaugh said he was pleased with the Student Ambassadors who represented the student body of the university because they took such an active part in the event.
The night began with a fiddlers' concert by Faith and Karleen Halingstad from Chinook. The duo played popular songs in traditional style, while those in attendance played games such as bingo and a "Wheel of Fortune"-style game in which people attached papers with their names written on them to the wheel to win prizes such a T-shirts and MSU-N merchandise.
A full bar and endless desserts were offered to attendees throughout the night along with a dinner of down-home and gourmet food, served after the student ambassadors showcased their line-dancing skills.
Toni Hagener, who was named the ball patron, said she thought the ball was pleasant and was pleased about the amount raised for the museum.
"I'm delighted," Hagener said. "Anything to provide a better space for the marvelous collection is very worthwhile and very important to the community and the college."
Limbaugh said the event was a success. As of Tuesday, approximately $30,195 was raised in scholarships for MSU-N students and $9,800 was raised for the Northern Montana Plains Indian Museum after expenses for the ball.
Limbaugh said this may not be the final amount donated as a result of the fundraiser as the school is continuing to take donations until Friday. Each $100 donation will count as an entry in a raffle. Whoever's name is drawn from the raffle have a chance to win two Cat-Griz Weekends or season tickets for two of MSU-N athletic events in the 2014-2015 school year.
The Cat-Griz Weekend prize includes two game tickets to the Nov. 22 game, two passes to the University of Montana Game Day Brunch and lodgings for Nov. 21.
The winners of the raffle will be announced at halftime at the Feb. 21 Northern basketball game.
This year's ball had 250 people in attendance, Limbaugh said, which is around the same number as balls past. Limbaugh said there were no problems organizing the ball after Trish Limbaugh took over organizational reponsibilities from the MSU-Northern Foundation. Many of the same people who organized previous Northern balls were still on the planning committee and helping to streamline the running of the event.
Limbaugh said changing the theme from its usual black-tie affair to a hoedown was also well-received, and he has already had requests to repeat the theme next year.
"People were very good-natured," Limbaugh said. "It was an event that made me realize how lucky I am to be in a community that cares so much about the school."
The Northern ball is, at the end of the day, a fundraiser for scholarships. Around 221 We Love Northern Ball scholarships have been awarded to students since 1999, amounting to $155,125.
Limbaugh said the amount raised by this year's fundraising event was humbling.
People enjoy a prime rib and cordon bleu dinner at the We Love Northern Ball Saturday.
"There are a lot of worthwhile charities and activities that are well-deserving of support," Limbaugh said. "Of all the things they could have donated to, I'm glad they chose the university."
Table sponsors for the night cost $1,000. Eleven tables were sponsored by companies such as NorthWestern Energy, Northern Montana Hospital, Gary & Leo's Fresh Foods, Kim's Heating and Air Conditioning, Triangle Communications and others.
Mike Nault Plumbing and Heating, Independence Bank, Office Equipment Company and Milk River Cooperative were sponsors of the ball.
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