From Charity to Celebration: The Heart of Nobles Night

Morgan Gibson, Staff Writer

November 13, 2023

If your parent, guardian, or even sibling mentions that they are going to a Nobles event on November 9th, chances are they are attending the annual Nobles Night, an event for everyone in the community, with the exception of students and children. Director of Development Lisa Rose said, “We like to have a community-wide event to celebrate all things Nobles.” Although many students may not realize the significance or even existence of the event, for the Nobles Business Office and the wider community, it is one of the biggest nights of the year. 

A common misconception about Nobles Night is the idea that it is a fundraiser. “While it is not a fundraiser, it is a night where we celebrate the collective generosity of the Nobles community and the progress we have made with our fundraising efforts this year,” Rose said. Although many other schools hold public events such as auctions to raise money, the lack of fundraising at Nobles Night stems from a place of inclusivity. Head of School Cathy Hall said, “This is not an event where we look to raise money but instead look to celebrate our community in a very inclusive way, inviting everyone who loves Nobles to join a wonderful night together.”  The message of the event is not, if you pay you can come, but that all are welcome to celebrate the school that they love.“We don’t want people to feel like they can only come to this if they’ve made a gift. We want this to be an all-inclusive, all-community event,” Rose said. 

The celebration takes place at the beginning of the year as a way to jumpstart the cycle of giving and reassure the school that fundraising goals will be met. “When we reach our fundraising goals for Nobles Night, it gives the school the confidence that we can reach our overall annual giving goals by the end of the year, and this allows our administration to think big for our students,” Rose said. Special Events Coordinator Katherine Minevitz said, “We just say, I’m doing festive evening to celebrate novels, we don’t say anything about the money. The tone is Thank you for what you’ve done.” Though there is no fundraising during Nobles Night, a goal of the event is to raise about ⅔ of the annual fund through giving prior to and after the event through donations and pledges. Rose said, “The tradition of Nobles Night has set a pattern. Our graduates expect to hear from us in September when we kick off our annual giving fundraising.” 

Along with providing drinks and a welcoming social atmosphere, Nobles Night has a brief program of events. The night begins with a “pre-party” for volunteers who are critical to the setup of the event and the fundraising that takes place before the event. President of the Board of Trustees John Montgomery (N ‘83) begins the night by welcoming everyone. From there, a volunteer who has displayed a commitment to helping Nobles is presented with the Richard T. Flood Award. Hall then gives a speech before both the Annual Nobles Fund and the First Class Fund for Faculty are introduced via a Ben Heider video. 

Although the event typically takes place in Rappaport Gym, the location has varied in years past based on significant developments in the community. For example, when the New Castle was constructed, Nobles Night took place there, and attendees were able to walk around every part of the castle. The same is true for the Henderson Arts Center and the Omni when they were constructed. Hosting the event at an off-campus site has been suggested, but graduates and parents alike agree that Nobles is the only place to host such a significant event. Minevitz said, “Some schools would have an event like this off campus. [But] everybody at Nobles loves to come to events on campus, even if they’re in a gymnasium. So the challenge is how do you make the gymnasium look not like a gymnasium?”

The gym is transformed into a fantastic event space after months of work spearheaded by Minevitz in collaboration with Buildings and Grounds, outside vendors, and countless volunteers. FLIK also provides incredible catering every year. “If you think the food is good at lunch, you should see it at Nobles Night!” Minevitz said.

Nobles Night has a tremendous impact on the Class I Fund for teacher compensation and the annual fund, which funds every aspect of a Nobles education and makes up about 9-12% of the school budget. However, more than that, Nobles Night is a way for old friends to reconnect and for community members to meet each other. “[Nobles Night] just creates camaraderie among everybody,” Minevitz said.

(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer)

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