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On January 31st, Panola College Foundation hosted its first annual gala fundraiser with a Gatsby inspired theme. The Gatsby Gala brought in almost 100 Panola College supporters dressed in their best 1920’s attire for the event and raised over $12,000. The goal of the evening, which took place in the M.P. Baker Library at Panola College, was to help raise funds for the foundation’s Floating Granite Fountain campaign, which will mark the memorable occasion of the new Health and Science building currently being constructed.

Highlights from the event included a private tour of Spirited: Prohibition in America, the largest exhibit ever displayed at Panola College, and dancing to the sounds of 1920’s jazz music played by Swinghouse jazz band. Gatsby inspired hors d’oeuvres for the evening featured such dishes as martini glass mashed potatoes, salmon crostinis, and shrimp cocktail. Desserts ideas, like the lemon cakes, were taken straight from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. Guests were also entertained by a photo booth, including several props, which produced immediate souvenir photos.

In addition to the popular photo booth, guests could be found throughout the evening in the mock casino engaging in games of blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps. Casino winning could be traded in throughout the evening for raffle tickets towards $1400 in prizes. Raffle tickets could also be purchased outright to help towards the fundraising goal.

“The Panola College Foundation would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters. We believe the evening was not only a fundraising success but also an entertaining occasion for all attendees,” said Robert Sherman, Foundation Chair. “We look forward to hosting next year’s Gala and hope to see the event continue to grow.”   

About the Floating Granite Fountain gatsbygala

The floating granite fountain is a custom designed interactive sculpture that consists of a large 48” granite ball supported by a thin film of water. The granite sphere will be engraved with the map of the world and engineered to rotate on the approximate axis of the Earth. As an interactive sculpture, spectators will be able to accelerate or change the course of the floating sphere, only to have it return to its natural rotation when left alone.

The beautiful floating granite fountain will be placed on the North side of the new Health and Sciences building and will be the beginning of a larger project, an Inspiration Garden, which will run the entire length of the new building. The Inspiration Garden will offer a beautiful oasis for students to study and will incorporate learning opportunities for students enrolled in health-related and science classes.

The Panola College Foundation is currently raising funds for the purchase and installation of the Floating Granite Fountain. There are limited naming opportunities available which will be engraved at the base of the fountain.

To donate to the project, or inquire about naming opportunities call Jessica Pace – Director of Institutional Advancement at 903-693-2029 or send her an email at:

About the Exhibit

Gatsby Exhibit

The Fay Allison Gallery of the M.P Baker Library, Panola College is open Sunday 4-9pm, Monday-Thursday 7:30am-9pm and Friday 7:30am-12:30pm.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Visitors will learn about the complex issues that led America to adopt Prohibition through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution in 1919 until its repeal through the 21st Amendment in 1933. Through the exhibition, visitors will learn about the amendment process, the changing role of liquor in American culture, Prohibition’s impact on the roaring ‘20s, and the role of women, and how current liquor laws vary from state to state.

Spirited: Prohibition in America is based on the exhibition American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, organized by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, in collaboration with Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. Spirited has been made possible through NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has been adapted and toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance. Founded in 1972, Mid-America Arts Alliance is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information, visit or

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Photo 1 – Steve and Rhonda Williams

Photo 2 – Lin and Tresa Joffrion and Phillip and Cynthia Grimes 

Photo 3 – Dr. Greg Powell and Claudia Maittlen-Harris

Photo 4 – Brenda Giles and Fannie Watson