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New sponsorship record for a sold-out car gala | Northwood University

It was a great weekend for dreaming in Midland, as the Northwood University International Auto Show attracted car enthusiasts from near and far to experience the latest automotive designs and innovations.

On Friday night, Northwood hosted 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 shown by our alumni and donors this weekend,” said Northwood President Kent MacDonald. “These funds will go a long way and make a huge 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 were able to admire, and in some cases sit behind the wheel, hundreds of vehicles from 70 brands, from Ford to Ferrari, and many more from the United States, Europe and from Asia. Many large aftermarket suppliers were also on display.

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

“We created this year’s theme ‘DREAM’ because we wanted to inspire others to live their dream and find their dream car,” said student and general president Ethan Schad. “Also, many businesses are only based on a dream, and we wanted to incorporate the role Northwood plays; honor companies that contribute to the show; and remind everyone that it all starts with a dream.

The students run the Northwood Auto Show entirely. Each vehicle exhibit was hosted by Northwood students, who worked with various manufacturers to share information about their brands.

Over 450 students participated in the planning and execution of the show. They took care of every detail, from creating the schedule, picking up and delivering the vehicles, to designing and setting up the display areas. The students overcame post-pandemic challenges, with automakers still dealing with supply chain issues that had a major impact on dealer inventory.

After an exclusive donor event on Thursday night, the show kicked 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, Dodge Brand Marketing and Communications Manager; Mike Cavanaugh, vice president of operations for Lithia & Driveway; Porter Brown, director of new car sales for 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 with panelists including Graff Chevrolet President Lisa-Kusey-Rechsteiner; Susan Michaels, Professional Development Manager 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, Corporate Account Manager 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 traveling dinner followed by dancing and a silent auction. Preliminary estimates show the event raised more than $215,000 for scholarships.

Now, Northwood University is looking forward to adding exciting new elements to the auto show gala next year to celebrate its 60th Northwood University International Auto Show in 2023!

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