Meharry's 17th Annual Circle of Friends gala—a celebration of growing, learning, and generosity

This year, Meharry's 17th Annual Circle of Friends gala, held Thursday, April 18, was a bringing together of the generous and influential of the Nashville philanthropic community.

"Growing for a Healthy Future" was the theme, and Meharry students were the event emcees. "It is an honor for me to stand here this evening to recognize you, our donors and friends," said Linda Witt, Meharry senior associate vice president for development. "Thank you for your support."

All night, Meharry students circulated through the attendees—numbering over 300—expressing gratitude for supporters' generosity.

"Scholarships...have made my success in dental school possible," Wilka Garcia Nunez, a D.D.S. candidate for May graduation, told the crowd. "I sincerely thank you for all your generous contributions to this exceptional institution," she said.

Trudy-Ann Frazer, also a D.D.S. candidate for May graduation, said the gifts of Circle of Friends members will help her to make her dream a reality. "My dream is to one day open a practice that serves underserved children in Georgia and work with a Craniofacial team treating patients who suffer from cleft lip and palate," she said.

Nunez, whose goal is to be able to finance multiple dental health clinics in her native country, the Dominican Republic, said the financial help of donors like those at the gala has helped relieve financial strain. "Without them I would not have been able to take care of my financial responsibilities," she said.