Virtual Spirefest Raises $215,000 for Student Scholarships


The 17th annual SpireFest gala broke tradition this year. Out of concern for the community, the University of Saint Mary transformed SpireFest into a virtual event. Despite these new challenges, the gala raised more than $215,000 for student scholarships.

From April 20-25, alumni and friends gathered online to bid on auction items, view exclusive videos, and participate in a Fund-A-Scholar event. Donor support made it possible for Saint Mary to exceed its $100,000 Fund-A-Scholar goal, raising $114,835.

The virtual event culminated on April 25 with video messages from SpireFest emcee Alison Banikowski, C’75, USM President Sr. Diane Steele, C’83, and scholarship stories from biology major Emmanuel Mulindwa and alumnus Geoff Peterson, U’09.

“During virtual SpireFest, Saint Mary had an outpouring of support, and the results exceeded our expectations,” said Madeleine Bryce, M’20, USM’s special events and annual giving manager. “Even during a pandemic, the Saint Mary community came together to support our students. Thank you for your dedication to USM and the students we serve. Because of your support, we will emerge from this Saint Mary strong.”

The SpireFest video is available to view at

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