On June 18, CSUSM’s picturesque campus was transformed into an Old World Italian village as more than 275 guests helped to transform the lives of promising students during a live auction benefiting student scholarships at the University’s annual gala.

This year's spectacular event titled “An Evening in Tuscany” featured savory gourmet cuisine, fine wine tastings, Italian-inspired cocktails, and tantalizing artisan olive oil tastings. Upon arrival, attendees were greeted with the masterful musical talent of a live classical string quartet and the pristine vocals from an Italian-trained operatic singer. As guests enjoyed the ambiance and mingled with friends and regional civic leaders, attendees placed their bids in the silent wine auction benefiting undergraduate research. The promenade down from Markstein Plaza through Palm Court ended at Kellogg Plaza where guests enjoyed exquisite Tuscan-style cuisine.

More than just a premiere social event though, the evening also raised more than $35,000 during the live scholarship auction, where guests generously placed their bids to support students in their pursuit of higher education. Currently more than half of the students at Cal State San Marcos rely on some form of financial aid to attend college. To keep a high-caliber education within reach, each year 1,000 merit and need-based scholarships are awarded to CSUSM students.

“Scholarships increase access to Cal State San Marcos and make it possible for highly talented students of all backgrounds and means to learn and pursue their dreams of earning a college degree,” said President Haynes. “And, not only do they ensure that our remarkable students have all the support and resources they need to succeed on their academic journeys without the crush of financial burdens, scholarships also allow students to make the most of the richly integrated academic life that defines our university.”

Following the auction and short program, which was emceed by San Diego News 8 Anchor Barbara Lee Edwards, guests heated up the dance floor with live entertainment by internationally acclaimed music sensation NRG.

Cal State San Marcos wishes to thank its generous event sponsors who helped to make this year’s event in support of students possible. Special thanks to Rincon Band of Luiseño Mission Indians; DJO Global, Inc.; North City by Urban Villages San Marcos, LLC; Palomar Pomerado Health; PCL Construction; Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians; Jack and Caroline Raymond; Scripps Health; Tri-City Medical Center; California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center; CM Distributors, Inc. – Mary “Bo” Czerwinski and Trudy Ann Mangrum; College of Arts and Sciences; College of Business Administration; CSUSM Alumni Association; Markstein Beverage Co.; Pala Band of Mission Indians; San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians; Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc.; and University Auxiliary and Research Services Corporation.

“Scholarships increase access to Cal State San Marcos and make it possible for highly talented students of all backgrounds and means to learn and pursue their dreams of earning a college degree,” said President Haynes.