RSU Foundation Auction and Dinner Nets $150,000 for Student Scholarships

auction items on table

Rogers State University’s 2023 Foundation Auction and Dinner will go down in the record books as another “huge success,” netting roughly $150,000 for student scholarships and initiatives.

“It was an excellent event – one of our best yet,” said Steve Valencia, vice president for development. “We had 450 guests in attendance and had a total revenue of $193,000 – a net of $150,000, which is tremendous. Those funds, along with what we raise from our other fundraisers, go to provide scholarships to Rogers State University students with financial need.

“This will enable us to award significantly more scholarships to deserving students,” he said.

Held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Thursday evening, Nov. 9, the RSU Foundation Scholarship and Auction is the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds going to provide scholarships to students attending all RSU campuses and to support university initiatives that directly impact the success of RSU students.

As 2023 is the RSU Foundation’s 50th anniversary, this year’s dinner and auction was dubbed the “Golden Gala.”

“Sponsorships were up this year, and we’re filled with appreciation for the companies and individuals that sponsored the event, everyone that attended, all those who bid on items. The support was almost overwhelming,” Valencia said. “We’re pleased in that we’re going to be able to help a greater number of students this year because of that support.”

Valencia offered special mention to RCB Bank Trust and Wealth Management who served as presenting sponsor, as well as Cherokee Nation, and Tom Giles and Fonda Ryan, the latter two serving as Legacy Patrons.

“We had an outstanding chair of our auction committee, Dr. Donita Smith. She did wonderful work in securing additional sponsors and working to make our event very special,” Valencia said. “We’re obviously grateful for all the work of the Foundation board and their guidance, as well as Tonni Harald who did a remarkable job in securing sponsors, bid items, and the planning and pulling off of this very detailed event. That’s a lot of work, and she certainly provided the leadership for the development team to have a successful event.”

The scholarship auction and dinner event is the Foundation’s final fundraising event of 2023, but tax-deductible donations will continue to be accepted.

The RSU Office of Development is the fundraising arm of Rogers State University and it works to maximize the institution’s resources through obtaining financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations. The RSU Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to supporting the educational mission of the university through private gifts.

Persons wanting to make a year-end contribution to the Foundation may give in person at the Office of Development or online at

For more information, contact the Foundation office at 918-343-8357.