A large crowd turned out despite the rainy weather that many feared would dampen attendance. Nearly every chair in the house was taken.
"I was overwhelmed with the response considering the weather," Prince said. "Even with so many different activities going on in the community and the wet weather, we had a full house."
Though Prince had not tabulated the final results of the fundraiser on Friday morning, he said he had already accounted for more than180 attendees.
Final calculations from the fundraiser won't be available for several weeks, Prince noted; however, preliminary figures indicate the event had generated nearly $34,000 by the time it concluded Thursday night.
Net proceeds, over expenses, will likely total more than $40,000 when the additional contributions that come in after the event are added.
Prince pointed out that net proceeds from the event are being matched by an anonymous donor, which means that this year's edition of the Foundation and Auction actually could raise more than $80,000.
The foundation kicked off the Invest in Bladen Endowment recently after the anonymous donor contributed $150,000. The donor stipulated that another $100,000 would be donated if the foundation could generate $100,000 in matching donations within 18 months.
Prince pointed out that the funds generated by the dinner and auction will bring contributions to the Invest in Bladen Endowment to about 50 percent of the amount needed to secure the matching funds.
"We're off to a good start (in reaching our goal), but there's still a lot to be done," said Prince. "Ensuring that we raise the matching funds is among our top priorities right now. The more (funds) we can raise, the more students the foundation can help."
The Dinner and Auction has been a centerpiece of the foundation's fundraising efforts over the past five years, and has been progressively more successful over the years.
Several local residents played key roles in this year's event.
Well-known local resident Robert Hester acted as master of ceremonies. BCC President Dr. Darrell Page and Prince welcomed attendees and recognized the dignitaries present. Among the dignitaries present were State Senator Tony Rand and Ryan Combs, field representative for U.S. Senator Richard Burr and other local government officials.
BCC instructors Mitch Mitchell and Ann Russell performed comedy skits, and David Dowless provided the musical entertainment.
Naomi Miller, director of BCC's East Arcadia campus, gave a testimonial about how the college had been the catalyst that led her from being a high school dropout to completing a master's degree.
Lynn King Sr., the auctioneer, led a spirited auction that raised more than $2,500.
Russell designed the decorations used for the program and volunteers from the faculty, staff and student body helped with placing them.