Destination Auction on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 drew a crowd of over 300 and a record number of donations and net income.

The Auction, whose theme this year was “Your Paradise Awaits,” has been presented annually for the past 26 years by the School of Hospitality Business Alumni Association and its student Hospitality Association.  It is a major fundraiser for the two groups, who worked together – alumni donating Auction packages and funds and providing mentorship, and an Auction executive board comprised of 17 students led by CEO Erica Kaschalk (BA Hospitality Business ’18), COO Emily Lieblang (BA Hospitality Business ’17), and CFO Amy Majercik (BA Hospitality Business ’18).  A portion of the proceeds wereDestination Auction's eboard given to the Junior League of Lansing and the Capital Area Humane Society.

The evening featured a Silent Auction, with tables changing frequently to accommodate the hundreds of items up for bid.  The Live Auction began at six p.m. and filled the Big Ten Rooms at Kellogg Center.  As he has for every single Auction, Bob Howe (and the energetic staff of Epic Auctions & Estate Sales) served as auctioneer, and Dan Miller, radio play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Lions was celebrity emcee.   Dan also has the distinction of being dad to past Destination Auction CEO, Alumna Sammi Miller (BA Hospitality Business ’16) and current Auction Director of Technology Anthony Miller (BA Hospitality Business ’19).

“Destination Auction is unique,” says Alumni Association President and Auction Advisor Mike Rice (BA Hospitality Business ’91).  “Our alumni have lots of great connections, and for years have provided extraordinary packages.”  Indeed, some of the items included:

  • a two-night stay and daily breakfast for two at Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, CA
  • a two-night stay in deluxe accommodations at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, CA
  • several fantastic packages featuring stays at Fairmont Hotels around the country and in Canada
  • a two-night stay in an atrium view room and dinner for two at Ravello at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN
  • a one-night stay with breakfast for two at the Omni Hotel and two $25 gift certificates to Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City Restaurant in Chicago, IL

There were basketballs signed by Magic Johnson and by Tom Izzo, tickets to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, and many fabulous opportunities for trips to wineries for tastings around the region.  “We couldn’t do this without our generous alumni,” says Erica.  “Every year they come through for us and for our students.  They are fantastic.”  The evening also featured a 50/50 drawing.  This year every single ticket was sold!  And for a $10 donation at the door, guests enjoyed an evening of complimentary food and beverages, with a cash bar available.  The venue had a tropical feel, with grass skirting around tables and surfboards, flowers, and pineapples located around the audience.  Each guest was greeted with a lei, adding to the “paradise” theme.  Online bidders had access to all Destination Auction items, as well.

“The Auction executive board and volunteers were great,” says longtime Auction Advisor Chuck Day (BA Hospitality Business ’91).  “It’s like running a business: they prepare for an entire year, and then provide an experience that is not only successful, but very professionally-run.”

Erica agrees, saying, “I am beyond proud of the Auction team.  It is rewarding to see everything come to life on the day of the event after working so hard all year.  We are so thankful for all the support from the School alumni, faculty, students, and staff, as well as our families and friends.”

In fact, Erica says the mentorship of advisors Chuck Day, Mike Rice, and faculty member Dr. Jeff Elsworth was invaluable.  She was also quick to thank the dedicated efforts of staff members Jamie Lyon and Lena Loeffler, whose expertise and relationships with alumni and students are key to the success of this important event.

Destination Auction 2018 is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 10.  Mark your calendars!

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