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Celebrities return for annual scholarship fund-raiser

Posted by University News Service

April 29, 2010


As the Texas State University-San Marcos Graduate College celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, scholarship funds raised through the annual Chartwells CenturyLink Texas State Celebrity Classic are more important than ever to the increasing number of graduate students.


When the Classic began 16 years ago, the Graduate College offered only master’s degrees.  Today, there are some 4,221 graduate students enrolled in more than 80 master’s level and nine doctoral level programs.


The Celebrity Classic, scheduled May 1 – May 3, 2010, is Texas State’s premiere fund-raiser, providing funds for graduate student scholarships, and this year’s Classic will exceed $1 million for graduate scholarships.


While scholarships are what the Classic is all about, it’s the celebrities, sponsors and volunteer opportunities that make the first weekend in May one of the city’s most enticing weekends of the year for star gazing.  Continuing to use the theme “hit a ball and change a life,”  it’s a feel-good time, too.


According to Texas State Graduate Dean Mike Willoughby , who continues to work closely with the Classic Executive Committee, revenue from the 2009 event reached $120,700.  Serving in leadership roles as co-chairs of the Executive Committee are retired Chartwells’ general district manager Charles Blackwell and Texas State Distinguished Alumnus and Artist-In-Residence Eugene Lee, both of whom are veteran Classic volunteers.


For the first time in several years, there are changes to both the Classic schedule and one venue this year.  Celebrities, who will be staying at the host hotel, Embassy Suites, will start arriving Saturday, May 1.  On Sunday morning, May 2, they will venture to the Plum Creek Golf Club for the Celebrity Scramble.  The gala dinner and live and silent auctions will be held Sunday evening in the LBJ Student Center.  Co-name sponsor, Chartwells, the university’s contracted food service provider, promises another spectacular event.  Golfers and volunteers will head for Onion Creek Club on Monday, May 3, for a highly competitive day of golf.  The day will end with dinner and the presentation of plaques to the winning teams.  The public is invited to attend both golfing events to meet celebrities and collect autographs.


Name sponsors Chartwells and CenturyLink of San Marcos, Inc. are back on board. Presenting sponsors for 2010 have increased and include Blimpie, H-E-B, Plum Creek Golf Club, Staples/Summus Industries and the University Bookstore.  The presenting sponsors and a long list of major and other sponsors are responsible for the financial success of the Celebrity Classic.  


Rounding out the list of 2010 Celebrity Classic sponsors are major sponsors American Airlines, Brown Distributing Company, CenterPoint Energy, Embassy Suites San Marcos, FedEx Office, First Transit, IKON Office Solutions, International Power-Hays, McPherson Cellars, Nike, Subway of San Marcos and The Legends Group and sponsors Coca-Cola, Frost Bank, Chuck Nash Auto Group, Ki and Wendy Norman, Onion Creek Club and Wells Fargo Bank.


Several newcomers are among the celebrities due for the Classic.  Newcomers will include The Closer actor Robert Gossett, veteran character actor and Texas State Distinguished Alum Chelcie Ross and actor and recording artist Johnny Lee. 


Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Rocky Carroll, who appears in both the original NCIS and its spinoff NCIS Los Angeles television series, are expected.  


Other returning celebrities include old friends Burton “Bubba” Gilliam, Jonathan Banks, Earl Billings, Dan Boever, Tom Buchanan, Mary Deese and husband James Hampton, Leslie Easterbrook and husband Dan Wilcox, James McDaniel, Sam McMurray and  alumnus Alan Stepp .  The Sunday evening gala entertainment will showcase a trio of sleight-of-hand and comedic masters Christopher Hart, David Magee and Gary Valentine.


For more information on the Classic, call (512) 245-4578 or visit the Classic webpage at