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Fundraiser eventRoberto Luna, student ambassador; Sister Sharon, OSB; and Rosa Favela, student; at the Donnelly College Shine fundraiser event.
Spirits were soaring high at the National Airline History Museum, the venue for Shine, the Donnelly College Annual Scholarship Event, on Friday, Sept. 27.
More than 450 friends, alumni, students and guests gathered to raise funds for scholarships and to put the spotlight on donors’ generosity and students’ successes.
Proceeds from the event totaled $309,000. Funds raised are earmarked for the John and Florence Horan Memorial Scholarship Fund and Donnelly’s annual scholarship fund.
Philanthropist and community advocate Joan Horan was honored at the event. Horan, a Kansas City native, has had a tremendous effect on the lives of many in her community,
A large majority – nearly 85 percent – of Donnelly students are the first in their families to attend college, a rate that’s more than twice as high as in institutions nationally. The availability of scholarship dollars make it possible for young people – many who come from low-income families – to pursue the dream of higher education. Donnelly strives to increase access to college by keeping tuition affordable. The college is noted as one of the most affordable private colleges in Kansas and Missouri. Funds raised at Shine are designated specifically for scholarships.
Through the years, Horan has been a champion for the mission of the college.
“Joan’s wisdom and leadership has been invaluable to Donnelly. As a board member for nearly a decade, she was always connecting, problem solving, and working hard to sustain our mission and help set our vision for the future. She thinks big, but seeks practical and collaborative solutions that meet the community’s needs,” said Steve LaNasa, Donnelly president.
Horan, formerly a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Paola, Kan., spent the early part of her career teaching and counseling young adults. She earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Boston College. In 1971, she became the first director of personnel for DST Systems, which employed just 75 associates at the time. She continued to work for DST for 39 years, and ultimately served as vice president of human resources. She played an integral role in the company’s growth over the years, as it grew from a small start-up to an industry leader with more than 12,000 employees.
Through her career, Horan has served on numerous boards, supporting the mission of a wide range of community organizations and institutions. She was selected as the event’s honoree because of her steadfast commitment to helping Donnelly and other organizations across Kansas City.
"Joan brightens our entire Kansas City community,” said Brian J. Finucane, Shine co-chair. “She has spent a lifetime helping thousands grow through job and educational opportunities, and with a smile and hand to those in need.”
The evening provided a perfect opportunity for guests and supporters to connect with the mission of Donnelly College and support higher education in the urban core—while having fun. The evening included a cocktail hour, live music dinner, tours of the museum aircraft, and a short program.
"It has been my pleasure to watch Donnelly blossom and grow and broaden its connections not only in the KCK community but the Leavenworth community, the Greater KC community, and the international community,” Horan said.
Mike and Melanie Fenske along with Brian and Susan Finucane served as chairs of the event. Phil Kirk Jr. and Tom McGee Jr. served as honorary chairs.
- Story, photo from Donnelly College