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New sponsorship record for sold-out gala

October 11, 2022

It was a beautiful weekend to dream in Midland, as the Northwood University International Auto Show attracted car enthusiasts from near and far who checked out the latest auto designs and innovations.

On Friday evening, Northwood held a sold-out gala at the Midland Country Club to raise scholarship funds. This popular event broke a new record for total sponsorships.

“We are humbled by the generosity our alumni and donors exhibited this weekend,” said Northwood President Kent MacDonald. “These funds will go a long way and make a tremendous difference in the lives of our deserving students, who fulfill our mission as future leaders who drive global social and economic progress.”

Over the weekend, visitors could admire, and in some cases sit behind the wheel of, hundreds of vehicles across 70 brands, from Ford to Ferrari, and many more from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Many major aftermarket suppliers were also on display.

The exhibit that attracted the most attention was the Dream Collection, which consisted of a Bugatti, Pagani, and McLaren Speedtail. These dream cars truly epitomized this year’s Auto Show theme.

“We made this year’s theme ‘DREAM’ because we wanted to inspire others to live their dream and find their dream car,” stated student and General Chair Ethan Schad. “Also, plenty of businesses are solely based on a dream, and we wanted to incorporate the role Northwood has played; honor businesses that contribute to the show; and remind everyone that it all starts with a dream.”

Students entirely run Northwood’s Auto Show. Each vehicle display was hosted by Northwood students, who collaborated with various manufacturers to share information about their brands.

More than 450 students were involved in the planning and execution of the show. They took care of every detail, from creating the schedule, picking up and delivering vehicles, and designing and setting up display areas. Students overcame post-pandemic challenges, with auto manufacturers still facing supply chain issues that majorly impacted dealer inventories.

Following an exclusive preview event for donors on Thursday night, the show shifted into high gear, starting with a VIP panel and networking opportunities for students on Friday. Panelists included Steve Rowley, president of Cox Automotive Inc.; Tina Prew, brand marketing and communications manager for Dodge; Mike Cavanaugh, operations vice president for Lithia & Driveway; Porter Brown, new car sales manager of Garber Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; and Alicia Thomas, Vice President of Acquisitions at Capital Automotive Real Estate Services.

On Saturday, First Lady Mary-Ellen MacPhee hosted a Women in Automotive Roundtable featuring panelists that included Lisa-Kusey-Rechsteiner, president of Graff Chevrolet; Susan Michaels, professional development executive for CDK Global; Diane Zimmerman, general manager of Coffman Truck Sales; Nikki Paschall, director of communications and engagement for Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance; Kristin Oosterhart, district sales manager for Buick GMC; Debbie Perschon, enterprise accounts director for CDK Global; Lisa Sailor with the National MS Society; and Tammy Horner, senior vice president, Credit Risk.

Friday’s gala — made possible by generous sponsors, including Dream Sponsor CDK Global — featured a strolling dinner followed by dancing and a silent auction. Preliminary estimates show the event raised more than $215,000 for scholarships.

Now, Northwood University looks forward to adding some new and exciting elements to the Auto Show Gala next year to celebrate its 60th Northwood University International Auto Show in 2023!

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