April 7, 2014
Sparky Reardon addresses crowd assembled at the Mill at Plein Air in his honor.
On March 29, more than 350 individuals ponied up $100 each to pay tribute to Sparky Reardon who is retiring as Dean of Students at Ole Miss after more than 37 years on the job.
The gala was held at The Mill at Plein Air in Taylor and proceeds went towards the Sparky Reardon Scholarship for Student Affairs at Ole Miss.
The evening began with a jazz trio on the lawn welcoming guests as they pulled into Plein Air. Cocktails were served in the upstairs ballroom as The Cakewalkers provided musical entertainment. “It was like a huge reunion of Sparky fans”, said Printz Bolin co-chair of the event. A seated dinner catered by Tallahatchie Gourmet followed cocktail hour. Then it was on to the main event.
Ole Miss had prepared a seven minute video tribute to Sparky featuring many celebrities, former students, and Ole Miss officials. Reardon received a three minute standing ovation as he moved towards the podium. His speech was peppered with poignant references to the changes he has seen over the decades, the little moments that moved him, and the thousands of students he has encountered. Not many in the audience had a dry eye as Sparky ended with a simple, “thank you.”
It was a who’s who in attendance. Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones, former Chancellor Robert Khayat, A.D. Ross Bjork, former A.D. Warner Alford, and the rest of the Ole Miss brass turned out. “The Help” director Tate Taylor, Ole Miss basketball great and Blind Side star Sean Tuohy, C-Spire CEO Hu Meena, Total Non Stop Wrestling’s CEO Dixie Carter, and literally hundreds of other Sparky fans came to honor the man who has impacted so many. For more information on the Sparky Reardon Scholarship for Student Affairs contact Denson Hollis at the UM Foundation.