President Heynderickx and ASSMU President Jamerson
November 8, 2021

LACEY, Wash. – On Saturday, Nov. 6, friends and alumni reunited to help Saint Martin’s University raise a record-breaking $2.7 million for student scholarships at the Saint Martin’s Gala, held on the University’s Lacey campus. This year’s Gala, in-person after a one-year hiatus, featured James Beard Award-winning chef and culinary legend Jacques Pépin and his daughter Claudine who joined via livestream from Pépin’s home kitchen in Connecticut to share some of his favorite cooking techniques and recipes. Pépin’s lively cooking demonstrations were paired with an exquisite five-course menu inspired by Pépin’s recipes, live music by the Seattle-based band Mr. Pink, and an exciting destination trip-filled live auction. (Picture of Saint Martin's President Roy Heynderickx and Gala student speaker and ASSMU President Katherine Jamerson)

The black-tie celebration was the fifteenth Gala, the University’s annual signature fundraising event. Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., spoke about the event’s role in building community, especially during a pandemic. “We were so excited to be able to welcome back everyone to our campus for Gala after not being able to gather or celebrate in-person for over a year,” shared Heynderickx. “The Gala truly is a remarkable event. Not only does it demonstrate our Benedictine values of community, hospitality and stewardship, but it also helps the University raise significant funds for student scholarships. It is thanks in part to our donors, sponsors and friends of the University that we are able to provide exceptional financial support to our students, some of whose families are needing even more support due to COVID.” 

As in years past, Saint Martin’s students played a major role in the event. Katherine Jamerson ’23, a third-year student majoring in psychology with a concentration in research and a minor education, shared how grateful she was for the Saint Martin’s community for stepping up and supporting its students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first in her family to attend college, Jamerson is a member of Saint Martin’s first cadre of Act Six Scholars, a leadership and scholarship program that brings together diverse, multicultural urban leaders from across the Puget Sound. The current president of the Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University, she talked about the importance of the university listening and responding to students’ concerns and initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as mental health awareness. Said Jamerson, “When I walk around our beautiful campus, I embrace the fact that I get to be in a community where I belong, where I can be heard, and where I can make a difference.”

Moved by Jamerson’s remarks, guests raised $1.9 million toward the University’s “Feed-a-Mind” scholarship funds.

Earlier that week, Pépin held a live Zoom with Saint Martin’s students who gathered in Trautman Student Union Building. Pépin shared stories about his life and career and spoke about what success means to him. The students connected with the world-renowned chef’s love of simple, but delicious cooking and his affection for his dog, Gaston, who made a special appearance on screen.

The chairs for the 2021 Saint Martin’s Gala are Pat and Helen Rants and Jay and Carla Rudd. The emeritus executive Gala chairs are Armandino Batali ’59, HD’16 and Rick HD’20 and Pam Panowicz.

If you were unable to attend the Gala, or would like to make an additional gift, you can still support student scholarships by making a gift online.

To view photos from the event, visit Saint Martin’s Gala web page in the next few days.

Next year’s Gala will be held on Nov. 5, 2022. The format and celebrity host will be announced in the coming months. For more information about Gala 2022, visit our Gala website,

Saint Martin’s University thanks the following Gala 2021 Event Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Bon Appetit Management Co.
Broadcast Media Sponsor: KCTS-9
Celebrity Photo Sponsor: Aurora Lasik
Gala Reception Sponsor: WSECU
Hospitality Sponsor: Columbia Hospitality
Print Sponsor: Capitol City Press
Media Sponsor: South Sound Magazine
Print Media Sponsor: Showcase Magazine
Coffee Sponsor: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roastery
Kitchen Sponsor: Rob Rice Homes
Live Auction Sponsor: Chicago Title - Thurston County
Valet & Online Auction Sponsor: Hanson Subaru
Wine Glass Sponsor: Sunset Air, Inc.
Raffle Sponsor: Panowicz Jewelers
Wine Sponsor: Eola Hills, Vehrs Distributing Company
Celebrity Runway Sponsor: Heritage Distilling, Seattle Distilling
VIP Gift Sponsor: Drees of Olympia
Student Reception Sponsor: ECS
Gala Scholarship Sponsor: Laird Norton Company
Chocolate Sponsor: Coco Sherrie

St. Martin’s Table Sponsors: Forma Construction, Joe HD’21 & Liz Williams

St. Benedict’s Table Sponsors: Dino Batali ’59 HD’16, Dr. Richard B. Hecker ’81 and Dr. Kelly Spence, Debbie Hodous & Pat Geiger, Heye Family, John & Michelle Riel, MJR Development, Pho Bac, St. James Cathedral/Father Michael G. Ryan, Tedi Reynolds ’71 & Mark Templeton ’69, The Rants Group, Toni Christy ’04, MBA’06, Waite ’65 & Patty Dalrymple

St. Gertrude’s Table Sponsors: Christopher ’80 & Lisa Thomsen, Cliff & Jackie Quisenberry, Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, INC., Commencement Bay Brokers, Diamond Technology Innovations/Jernigan Foundation, Dr. Attila HS’74,’78 and Katalin Talaber, Great Western Supply, Harbor Wholesale, Kathleen O’Grady, Kathy & Gordon Beecher, Lemon Family Dental, Olympia Federal Savings, Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, Olympia Tumwater Foundation, Panowicz Jewelers, Perry ’84 & Susan Shea, Pope John Paul II High School, Puget Sound Energy, Rick HD’20 & Pam Panowicz, Rockefeller Capital Management/Bloom Williams Group, Saint Martin's University Nursing Department, South Puget Sound Community College, Sunset Air, Inc., SW Providence Health & Services, The Creative Office, Timberland Bank, Tovani Hart, TwinStar Credit Union, U.S. Bank, Virgil Adams Real Estate

$2,500 sponsors: Heritage Bank, Moss Adams, LLP, Squaxin Island Tribe

Saint Martin’s University is an independent coeducational university, with undergraduate and graduate offerings, located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors, 11 master’s programs, one doctorate program and seven certificate programs spanning the arts and sciences, business, counseling, education, engineering, nursing and leadership. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Cecelia Loveless
Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Genevieve Chan
Vice President, Marketing and Communications