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Le Fil Rouge

The Red Thread that Connects Us And the Beach Boys at the UST Mardi Gras Scholarship Gala 2023

University of St. Thomas Mardi Gras Funds Scholarships to the Tune of $1.7 Million

Celebrating “Le Fil Rouge” or “The Red Thread that Connects Us” at the UST Mardi Gras Scholarship Gala 2023, over 700 black-tie revelers filled the 73rd annual soiree on May 6 at the Hilton Americas-Houston downtown. The glorious night offered partygoers festive cocktails, a delicious dinner, live auction and private performance by the iconic band The Beach Boys.  

Honoring Longtime Friends

Throughout the evening, the revelers gave generously, raising nearly $1.7M for student scholarships and honoring longtime friends and community leaders — former Capital Campaign Chair extraordinaire Liz Ghrist and Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who shepherded UST through one of its most transformative eras.

Event Chairs Ann and Pat Moran, Honorary Chair The Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, and Alumni Chair Drew Wilson ’02 mingled with old and new friends. All were destined to meet on this particular evening, all connected by an invisible red thread to support the noble cause of providing student scholarships and honoring good friends. 

A Vibrant Host

Channel 11’s popular and vibrant host of “Great Day Houston,” Deborah Duncan, and UST scholarship student Isabel Garcia co-served as the Mistresses of Ceremonies as this evening of celebration, giving, music, dancing and Mardi Gras festivities got underway. 

While seated for a dinner of scrumptious Louisiana faire featuring petit filet mignon with garlic-basted colossal shrimp and Creole cream cheesecake, eager partygoers signaled the start of the fête by joining the 2nd Line revelers as they snaked through the tables carrying parasols and swinging colorful handkerchiefs to the New Orleans tunes of the Bunk Johnson Brazz Band.

With deep gratitude, UST President Dr. Richard Ludwick and First Lady Melynda Ludwick led the tribute to celebrate the honorees and to recognize donors for their gifts of scholarships, which unlock the doors to transformational paths for students. Then, it was a live auction with five opportunities, including one lucky bidder who received a signed guitar from The Beach Boys and a chance to sing “Barbara Ann” on stage. Following that came a Paddles Up appeal matched with a generous $100,000 gift from the Hildebrand Foundation for student scholarships.

Dynamite Performers

Finally, it was time for the much-anticipated performance by The Beach Boys.  

Though The Beach Boys mark more than a half-century of recording and performing their critically acclaimed music, the group continues to ride the crest of a wave unequaled in our country’s musical history. These influential rock stars and American music icons, who have taken their shows to fans worldwide, brought the crowd to their feet at this private performance for UST’s Mardi Gras Gala patrons. And the revelers, spanning generations, went wild as they sang along to the group’s classics.    

Pictured left to right: First Lady Melynda Ludwick, Mardi Gras King Calen Anderson, Mardi Gras Queen Kailee Mann and UST President Dr. Richard Ludwick

Thank you to our generous sponsors below giving over $25,000:

Krewe of Saint Thomas Aquinas

  • Shiffick Charitable Foundation

Krewe of Saint Basil the Great

  • Lois Davis
  • Ms. Lori M. Gallagher and Mr. Curtis Huff
  • Hildebrand Foundation
  • Tim M. Maroney ’58†
  • Ann and Pat Moran

Krewe of Saint Maximilian Kolbe

  • Mikki Hebl, PhD and David Harvey
  • Scanlan Foundation

Krewe of Saint Martin de Porres

  • Angela and Craig Jarchow
  • The Marek Family
  • Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB
  • Mills and Steve Toomey ’71
  • Mrs. Raye G. White
About the Author — Sandra Soliz, MLA '01 Soliz

AvatarSandra Soliz, director of Communications for University of St. Thomas, has served the University for 20 years in Marketing Communications Department. In her position, she handles media relations and serves as the editor of the Encounter Magazine.

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