The “Celebrating Exceptional Stars Gala,” hosted by the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) on May 10, drew a crowd of 215 to the Fifth Floor of Cashion Academic Building on Baylor’s campus for dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Attendees included community leaders, Baylor faculty and staff, and many parents of children who receive services at the Baylor Autism Resource Clinic (BARC) and the Clinic for Assessment, Research and Education (CARE).
Everyone entered the Hollywood-themed room on a red carpet lined with stars, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But these stars bore the names of the exceptional children who are served by the BARC and CARE.
Dr. Tonya Davis, Assistant Professor in the Baylor School of Education and director of CARE, said the event was the group’s most successful fundraiser to date. “The money raised will help support our many therapy and assessment programs and provide scholarships to our families who are unable to pay even our reduced rates for services,” she said.
Special honorees for the evening were Dr. Jon Engelhardt and Dr. Alma Golden. Engelhardt has been the dean of Baylor School of Education (SOE) since 2007 and is a professor of curriculum and instruction with an educational specialty area of mathematics. He has been an education dean for 27 years at University of Texas El Paso, Northern Arizona State University, and Wichita State University as well as Baylor. Much of his work as SOE dean has included building partnerships, and he was honored for his pivotal role in building the partnership that resulted in the BCDD earlier this year, bringing together numerous services into one center.
Golden is a pediatrician and lifelong Texan who practices at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and consults for the Centers for Disease Control and other organizations. From 2002-2006, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is a current member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Baylor School of Education and worked for several years to develop the collaboration between the SOE and Baylor Scott & White that resulted in the opening of the BCDD.
Davis said, “My favorite moment of the night was when we debuted a music video starring our children; it is impossible not to smile when you see them laughing, dancing, and having such a fun time.”
You can watch the video presented at the banquet here: “Happy” video!
To see more scenes of the evening’s festivities, click each image below.