The University of San Diego’s 2013 Founders’ Gala was truly “An Unforgettable Night,” both in its presentation and its delivery.
A record 400 attendees were regaled in a beautiful setting at the Jenny Craig Pavilion for USD’s signature fundraising event, which honors university founders Bishop Charles Francis Buddy and Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill and whose proceeds support student scholars through the Founders’ Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Guests were welcomed by USD Alcala Club student ambassadors and a special video message from Jim Parsons, CBS-TV’s “Big Bang Theory” star and 2001 USD Master of Fine Arts alumnus, then treated to a four-course gourmet dinner, basked in the presence of Swarovski crystal, bid on amazing silent and live auction items, made an immediate impact via Fund-a-Torero and were treated to the music of Wayne Foster Entertainment.
As a result of the generous support of both guests and corporate sponsors that included Legacy sponsor Cox, and Heritage sponsors the Shiley Foundation, Bartell Hotels and Coca-Cola, the net revenue raised for the evening was $580,000. All proceeds support the Founders’ Endowed Scholarship Fund.
“These scholarships support our students, ‘Changemakers’ who make a difference in communities near and far,” USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD, said. “Your generosity shines a bright light on their commitment to academic excellence, ethical conduct and compassionate service.”
The amount raised at this year’s gala, USD’s third event since 2009, brings the total raised to nearly $1.6 million.
One of the first Founders’ Endowed Scholarship recipients Toni DeGuire took the degree she earned in May 2013 and the knowledge she gained at USD for the Teach for America program. DeGuire, an English teacher at a low-income high school in Dallas where she is helping students realize that a college education is not only important, but also within their reach, was on hand to personally thank all gala attendees for helping make her dreams a reality. Her scholarship support came from funds received from previous Founders’ Galas.
Former Toreros baseball standout and current Oakland A’s pitcher, AJ Griffin, was also at the gala and helped auction the new Fowler Park package along with an autographed A’s jersey.
Gala attendees included President Lyons, inaugural USD President Author “Art” Hughes and his wife, Marge, Reverend Monsignor Daniel J. Dillabough ‘70 who gave the invocation, former provost, professor and alumna, Sister Sally Furay, and many members of the USD Board of Trustees. Numerous USD alumni, current parents, community members, media, and friends of the university were also present. Xiomara Galindo, a two-time Emmy Award-winner and current parent, served as the gala program host.
One highlight throughout the evening was the presence of Austrian-based Swarovski crystal. There was a “Sparkle Station” where guests could pay $65 to receive a chance to pull an item valued between $65 and $500. The room decor glittered with crystal strands and each table featured Swarovski glitter-box lanterns as part of the centerpiece. Founders’ Gala Chair Coreen Petti said each female guest in attendance received a surprise Swarovski crystal ring, compliments of Elisabeth and Manfred Swarovski, who are current USD parents.
“It is always inspiring to see the generosity that is expressed by our USD alumni, parents and friends realize supporting our Changemaker students at the University of San Diego makes a difference in our community and around the globe,” she said.
The next Founders’ Gala is scheduled for November 2015. Meanwhile, Petti said a very limited number of Swarovski glitter-box lanterns and Founders’ Gala wine magnums are available for immediate purchase at $500 and $150, respectively. For more information or to purchase, please call (619) 260-8814.
— Ryan T. Blystone
Photos above courtesy of Christy Seaver Photography
Please see a Flickr photo gallery of the 2013 Founders’ Gala.