How do you hold a successful gala in a still shaky economy? All across CUNY, college presidents and advancement executives faced the challenge of planning galas this year amidst continuing economic uncertainty. Nevertheless, as the gala season wraps up, several colleges’ events surpassed expectations thanks in large part to committed honorees and donors and the intensive efforts of college leaders and staff.
Brooklyn College Night, held May 13th at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was a great success for the college, raising $450,000 and kicking off the college’s $200 million campaign. The event honored trustee and former board chair Marge Magner. Adding to the evening’s excitement, President Karen Gould announced three key gifts including two endowed chairs and a $5 million gift to launch the new graduate film school to be located at the Steiner Studios.
To stimulate enthusiasm for the gala, Vice President Andrew Sillen used a novel format to “showcase the impact of Brooklyn College and its graduates.” Guests chose to sit at one of 25 tables that featured conversations led by a diverse array of notable figures, including President Gould, academics, authors, a Broadway producer and a leading financial journalist.
Other galas with outstanding successes this year include the College of Staten Island, which raised nearly $580,000 with a gala that drew 350 attendees despite an unseasonal snowfall. John Jay College, which honored board chair Jules Kroll in a fall gala, raised $578,000. Borough of Manhattan Community College raised $430,000 at its gala in May, which honored longtime trustee Robert Mueller. City College, which honored two prominent alumni at its May gala, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Natale Ricciardi, raised approximately $1 million.