Cook, vice president for Institutional Advancement at West Georgia Technical College, is leading the charge for the Inaugural Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic, a two-day event that is being put on by the WGTC Foundation.
The Celebrity Gala will be held on Sunday, April 14, from 6-11 p.m. at the Douglasville Conference Center, with the Celebrity Golf Classic set for Monday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mirror Lake Golf Club in Villa Rica.
Some of the celebrities scheduled to appear include NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Reeves, actor Christopher McDonald, who played the character Shooter McGavin in the film “Happy Gilmore,” as well as several other big names from the entertainment and athletic arena.
“It is if not the largest, one of the largest, star-studded events that has ever been seen in west Georgia,” Cook said. “We’re anticipating over 40 celebrities. Twenty to 25 of those we have confirmed at this point. We’re adding to that list weekly. It’s not just athletes. It’s from stage and screen, it’s from the entertainment industry. Of course, there are athletes that are mixed in there with it, as well.”
The event is a fund-raiser aimed at helping Student Support Services, with one of the primary targets being student scholarships.
“With some of the changes to the Hope program, our students come to us with a variety of challenges and barriers and it’s important to us and it’s our mission that we do everything we can to help keep them in school and graduate those students so they can be successful members of our community,” Cook said.
There are different corporate sponsorship levels available for the two-day event, which include Ace Level, Eagle Level and Birdie Level. The cost for one team — four golfers — is $2,000, which also includes eight gala tickets. The higher the level, the more perks there are for the participants, featuring VIP tickets to the gala, an autographed football helmet, inclusion on all the event signage and hotel rooms for Sunday night.
The early-Sunday evening activities will feature an autograph session and a band settled in a community-type atmosphere in Douglasville.
“And then Sunday night is a black-tie optional gala that we will host for corporate sponsors and that will involve the celebrities that are in town. We’ll kind of network and meet and greet with them at the downtown Douglasville Conference Center,” Cook said.
The following morning turns to the golf outing, where each team will be assigned a celebrity to pair up with on the course.
“One of the things that we’re talking about doing is actually auctioning off the top five celebrities Sunday night, so that if a corporate sponsor has a favorite celebrity — let’s just say they’re a huge fan of Jim Kelly and want Jim Kelly to play golf with them — then we auction that off on Sunday night. We’re still working through those details. So that’s not really confirmed at this point yet,” Cook said.
With several sponsorships and teams already secured, Cook is confident that both the gala and golf outing will be a success, especially for the corporate clients that are entertaining customers.
“It’s a great way for a business who is not indoctrinated into the community yet to come out and try to market their business. And you can do all of this at a two-day event,” Cook said.
West Georgia Tech has made a strong push in recent years to bolster its ties within the community, which includes the entire seven-county system. WGTC has already booked Montgomery Gentry for its annual Black Tie & Boots event in August, and the Inaugural Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic is just the latest endeavor the College has tackled.
“You know how we are — we may as well just go big with everything. It would have been nice just to have done the golf tournament, but now we add the celebrity component on top of it. And, again, I just think it’s such a star-studded event. It’s going to be grand the first year out of the gate. This is something that we look to do annually to help our students,” Cook said.
“We have made a very conscientious effort over the last three or four years to be involved in our community. Since the merger, it’s become increasingly important that we’re visible, that people know that we’re a viable option in the post-secondary educational arena. And that’s one of the reasons we continue to do special events and fund-raisers, as well.”
For those interested in purchasing teams or sponsorships for the Inaugural Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic, you can visit the College’s web site at www.westgatech.edu.