Professional headshot of Natalie McKinney (B.A. Accounting '20) in the Minskoff Pavilion

Natalie McKinney (B.A. Accounting ’20)

For 18 years, Multicultural Business Programs has hosted its annual End-of-Year Gala to celebrate the dedication and hard work of its four organizations, Native American and Hispanic Business Students, Women in Business Students’ Association, National Association of Black Accountants and Multicultural Business Students, and the success of graduating members.

In the past, the event has been held at the Kellogg Center; however, this year’s gala was virtual, hosted on Zoom on April 24, and welcomed 80 guests, including corporate partners, students, alumni, faculty and staff.

“Transferring the event to a virtual medium wasn’t as difficult as I first imagined,” Natalie McKinney, accounting senior and chairperson of the gala, said. During her senior year, McKinney served as external vice president for WBSA, coordinating networking events and mock career fairs.

“Leading this [event] really changed the way I’m viewing our current situation. Everyone is fighting their own battles right now, but to watch my MBP family come together virtually gave me hope.”

The event followed the same planned agenda, with opening remarks from MBP assistant dean Ernest Betts, followed by individual recognitions. “Since this year was a little different, we did take extra time to recognize and celebrate our 13 seniors,” McKinney explained. Graduating members were asked to submit videos highlighting their experience at MSU and MBP. “These videos were played during the gala and gave everyone the opportunity to congratulate them on all their accomplishments,” she said.

Screenshot from Zoom with 25 participants of the Multicultural Business Programs End of Year virtual Gala

This year’s virtual event welcomed 80 guests, including corporate partners, students, alumni, faculty and staff.

“It was a wonderful evening,” said Kathleen Boeve, a Broad College hospitality business alumna and senior recruiting consultant at Plante Moran, one of several corporate reps in attendance. “I thought that the students did such a great job putting the presentation together, it felt like I was at the actual event!”

Plante Moran was one of 19 corporate sponsors of the gala, alongside Pepsi, General Motors, Ally Financial, Ford Motor Company and many others.

McKinney also noted MBP associate director Darrell King for his assistance in organizing the event. “All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Darrell King. I owe a huge thank-you to him for working with me on this gala and for all of his support,” she said.

“The event was a great success in spite of the current pandemic,” King commented.

In reflecting on the gala, McKinney was left with positive thoughts. “MBP’s gala was proof that we can still gather to celebrate, even if it’s virtual,” she said. “After the event, I walked away from my computer screen proud to be a Spartan.”