Weather Forces FHU Benefit Dinner Speaker to Cancel; Some Guests Come Anyway

DECEMBER 10, 2013

Although the winter blast that covered much of the United States last week forced former first lady Laura Bush to cancel her travel plans to Freed-Hardeman University, approximately 500 hardy souls attended the dinner and an abbreviated program Friday evening, Dec. 6.

“I thought the evening went great, despite the circumstances,” Dave Clouse, FHU vice president of university advancement, said. “The food was great, Dr. Wiley shared exciting information and the Danberrys were very good.”

The event raised in excess $1.4 million, Clouse said. “The people I’ve talked with understand that this was a fundraising event, and while sorry it turned out as it did, they were glad to be able to help our students,” Clouse said.

FHU President Joe Wiley announced plans for the Hope Barber Shull Academic Resource Center, implementation of the campus master plan currently in progress and the recently acquired Renaissance Center in Dickson, Tenn. He also talked about the ongoing fund raising effort to restore Old Main.

The Danberrys, from Nashville, presented the evening’s entertainment. Drawing from folk, old-time country, blues and soul/funk traditions, the group’s primary genre is Americana. Dorothy Daniel and Ben DeBerry, both FHU alumni, are the heart of the group. The two have been married since 2006. Daniel performs vocals, guitar and percussion; DeBerry performs vocals and plays the guitar.

Students received an unexpected bonus from the cancellation. They were invited to share the dinner with guests who did manage to make it to campus.

Although the event will not be rescheduled, the advancement staff is already anticipating the 50th benefit dinner. The 50th dinner and, as Wiley said, 49th speaker, are being planned for Dec. 5, 2014.