Thousands Raised at Inaugural Beaver Ball

Nearly 300 Buena Vista University alumni and friends gathered for the inaugural Beaver Ball at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on February 24th.

Ten individuals were honored for their work benefitting others through their careers, volunteer efforts, and philanthropy. The evening raised more than $80,000 and will help aid student scholarship efforts at BVU. Principal, a leading employer of BVU alumni in and around Des Moines, joined the DCI Group, general contractor for BVU’s new apartment-style residence hall, as major sponsors for the event.

“It was both humbling and thrilling to recognize our leaders in their fields while sharing with alumni and friends how they continue to positively impact our students, the people who will soon be recognized as the drivers and doers in their communities,” said BVU President Brian A. Lenzmeier, Ph.D. “We had alumni and friends from at least 10 states and seven decades of BVU education and support represented in an evening we’ll remember for a long, long time.”

Alumni award recipients included the following: Dr. Kyle Glienke ’09, Dr. Kimberly Perez ’13, Dr. Stacey (Weaver) Cole ’96, Scott Hermann ’97, Roger Fors ’78, and Rob Jones ’72. Friends of BVU awards were presented to Dr. Kitty and Neal Conover; and David & Linda Wesselink, all of whom have demonstrated selfless leadership and generosity to BVU for years.

“Receiving an award at the gala was an immensely humbling experience,” said Dr. Perez, Infectious Disease Immunology Senior Research Scientist for Moderna in Boston, Mass. “It represented a moment of profound gratitude and reflection. Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow alumni—each a vital thread in the tapestry of my journey—poignant reminders of the collective effort that shapes individual successes. The night was a testament to the power of community, as the funds raised for future scholarships will open doors for aspiring students, just as they once did for me.”

Emcee Jeriann Ritter, a 1999 BVU graduate, was excited to help welcome alumni, friends, and guests to the Iowa Events Center, a location selected as the greater Des Moines area is home to several hundred BVU graduates. President Lenzmeier laughed while thanking Ritter, a Meteorologist serving WHO TV-13 in Des Moines, for doing all she could in forecasting—then providing—a February day with blue skies and temperatures in the 60s.

“The Beaver Ball is such a great idea, and we were blessed to have so many alumni, friends, sponsors, and students eager to join in the fun,” said Jessica (Larson) Mathisen ’04, a member of the BVU Alumni Board who served as a Beaver Ball co-chair, joining her husband Tom Mathisen ’05, and fellow co-chairs Chris and Amy (Waller) Friedrich ’93, a member of the BVU Board of Trustees. “The event cast a wonderful light on BVU givers who are excelling and serving others. We learned about their successes while thoroughly enjoying the chance to get together and celebrate everything we enjoy about BVU. We’re already thinking about the Second Annual Beaver Ball next year!”


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