Today@Sam Article

Showstopping Event Brings Top Awards

June 13, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Charlene McWilliamsCharlene McWilliams, Sam Houston State University assistant to the president and director of university events, was recently honored with receiving four nominations and two Texas Star Awards in the "Best Event Design and Décor" and "Best Event for a Non-Profit Organization" categories. This marks the fifth consecutive year McWilliams has won.

Showcasing the best of the best in the special events industry, from design and decor to logistics and technology, The Texas Star Awards are the pinnacle mark of professional achievement. The program is hosted by the Texas Chapters of the International Live Events Association.

big top event decorAccording to McWilliams, the 2022 awards were particularly competitive with three times as many submissions due to the pandemic pausing the competition. 

“Any given year it's tough because we compete with event professionals across the state, many of whom have won awards nationally or internationally,” McWilliams said. “This year was especially fierce as everyone wanted to showcase what they accomplished between 2019-2021.”

SHSU’s 2019 Texas State Board of Regents Welcome Dinner was the event that earned McWilliams the top honor in two award categories. Elegantly featuring a circus-themed immersive experience, the formal dinner for 115 guests celebrated the dazzling spectacle of The Greatest Show on Earth.

trapeze performerRed and gold drapery and floral pieces adorned the ballroom, along with carnival-style food carts, setting the stage for a magical night.  

“I don’t know what exactly made this stand out from the other events nominated, because they too were worthy of winning, but I think it’s obvious that I’m passionate about making an impact with the events that we organize and that passion must have been felt by the judges when they reviewed my submission," she said.

The showstopping theme also offered guests an evening complete with live circus-ring entertainment in several acts, including dancers, a juggler and trapeze performers.

“The Orange Pride Dance Team served as our main entertainment with an amazing performance to The Greatest Show, from The Greatest Showman,” McWilliams said.

View event photos

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