Today@Sam Article

Director Of University Events Earns Two Texas Star Awards

June 4, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

char awardCharlene McWilliams, director of university events, is the face behind many of the perfectly planned and executed, high-profile events hosted at Sam Houston State University. This past semester, her hard work was recognized by the International Live Events Association – Texas Chapters, where she was honored with two prestigious 2020 Texas Star Awards.

McWilliams received the highest distinctions for the Best Non-Profit Event (Under $75K) for her “Winter Wonderland” theme and the Best Event Design and Décor ($25k-$75k) for her circus theme titled, “Under the Big Top.” Each of these occasions are intended to celebrate the SHSU community in a meaningful and memorable way. McWilliams’ Winter Wonderland event was developed for the Texas State University Board of Regents’ Welcome Dinner, while the President's Academic Awards Dinner recognizes SHSU faculty members who have attained significant honors and achievements throughout the year.

Winter Wonderland 2020 - Best Non-Profit Event (Under $75K)


According to McWilliams, one unique aspect of this dinner that set it apart from the rest of the competition, was that it took place outdoors around a large igloo in the center of campus. Guests were treated to a frozen cocktail station, hot chocolate bar, and a build-your-own smores bar. Inside the inflatable igloo, ice sculptures with fresh seafood functioned as centerpieces and delicate snowflakes projected across the room made it appear as though snow was falling. These special details all contributed to McWilliams’ win and why she continues to be successful year after year, earning the top award four out of the five times she has been nominated. 

Under the Big Top 2019 - Best Event Design and Décor ($25k-$75k)


The past two years McWilliams was nominated for this category but walked away with the win when she transformed the Lowman Student Center Orange Ballroom into a bustling three-ring circus complete with Cirque du Soleil style performances by Lone Star Circus, a ringmaster, aerial performances, contortionists, jugglers, stilt walkers and a 3D viewfinder invitation.

The Texas Star Awards is a globally recognized awards competition designed to honor the exceptional professional achievements of individuals and organizations from the events industry. The awards program is produced by the Texas Chapters of the International Live Events Association (ILEA). 

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