News + Events

FHU Announces Final Plans for Annual Benefit Dinner

Henderson, Tenn. - Oct 23, 2015

Freed-Hardeman University’s advancement office recently finalized plans for the 51st Annual Benefit Dinner, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, featuring Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.

Brantly, who served as a medical missionary at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, last year found himself fighting on the front lines of the battle against the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever to occur. In early July 2014 Samaritan’s Purse, the organization for which Brantly worked, took over responsibility for the clinical care of Ebola patients for the entire nation of Liberia. He was appointed medical director for what would become the only Ebola treatment unit in all of southern Liberia.

After Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola July 26, he became the first person in the world to receive the experimental drug ZMapp and the first person with Ebola to be treated in the United States when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Since March 2014, the virus has infected 28,465 people and killed 11,312 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As a survivor, Brantly considers it his privilege and duty to speak on behalf of the people of West Africa who continue to suffer from Ebola.

In addition to Dr. Brantly’s remarks, the program will include an interview with him conducted by Jackson’s Steve Bowers. An FHU alumnus, Bowers is the media manager at Jackson Energy Authority and a talk show host at 101.5 FM WNWS News Talk Radio.

FHU’s University Chorale, directed by Dr. Gary McKnight, will provide the evening’s entertainment. The University Chorale was formed in 2004 and is a mixed ensemble of musicians who are both music major and non-music major students. The group specializes in sacred unaccompanied selections, but is not limited to that repertoire. At this event they will sing a selection of American folk songs, African folk songs, spirituals and selections from musical theater.

The menus for the dinner have been determined. Corporate sponsors and underwriters will enjoy a served meal in Brown-Kopel Business Center. They will begin with a salad of mixed winter greens with dried cherries, candied pecans, feta and white balsamic vinaigrette. The main course will include grilled filet mignon atop applewood smoked cheddar bacon, infused whipped potatoes, heirloom bean, roasted corn and shaved prosciutto hash, sautéed trim-top carrots and asparagus. Guests will have a choice of apple fritter bread pudding or flourless chocolate cake with white chocolate and peppermint sprinkles with eggnog Anglaise.

The buffet menu will consist of a salad of mixed winter greens, cider-brined pork loin with molasses mustard-glaze, roasted turkey breast rubbed with brown sugar, roasted carrots and parsnips with a white balsamic glaze and applewood smoked cheddar bacon infused whipped potatoes. Dessert choices will include red velvet cake or New York cheesecake with caramel toffee topping. Buffets will be served in Brewer Sports Center and Wallace-Gano Dining Hall.

Brantly, a graduate of Abilene Christian University and Indiana University School of Medicine, is currently the medical missions advisor for Samaritan’s Purse. He and his wife Amber, along with their two children, now live in Texas. The Brantlys’ book, “Called for Life,” was released July 21, 2015. It tells the story of their call to serve their neighbors, Kent’s fight for life and Amber’s struggle to support him despite the distance separating them. The book will be for sale at the sponsors’ reception.

General admission tickets to the dinner are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $600. To learn more about purchasing tickets or becoming a sponsor, go to