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President’s Gala 2012

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Various tables set up for the more than 300 guest at this years Gala. Photo taken by Chris Lujan

The President’s Gala was held on May 19, in the OUC Ballroom. The event was co-chaired by Michael Salardino (A ‘73) and President Lesley Di Mare.

The gala is a fundraising event that former CSU-Pueblo President Ron Applbaum established in appreciation to individuals who had given considerable donations to the university. Originally, the event was for the President’s Club members, but over the years the event has expanded to involve the entire CSU-Pueblo community.

“It has evolved over the years into a larger community event with a high ticket price ($100/person) and now to a full-blown fundraising event, University’s hallmark and premiere event,” said Lacy Trainor, Development Assistant for the CSU-Pueblo Foundation.

The event began at 6 p.m. with cocktails and appetizers that were accompanied by music from the Pueblo Symphony Ensemble conducted by Jacob Chi. This year marks Chi’s 18th season with the symphony, which was founded in 1929.

At 7 p.m., the guest were welcomed by President Di Mare followed by a swing performance by Notable Pueblo Couples and music by Canon City High School’s award winning show choir, Encore! Dinner was served as guest danced to the music of the Pueblo Symphony Ensemble.

Dinner included an Iceberg salad, with walnuts, bleu cheese, crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette. The main course was a petite sirloin steak topped with bleu cheese, butter, and caramelized onions, or cranberry chicken roulade with fruit glaze with sides that included baby red potatoes and a vegetable medley.

Dessert was a glazed fruit tart topped with Creme Fraiche and the wine came from The Pinot Project, Pinot Noir, California and Basa, 2010, Spain. The evening’s food was provided by The Classic Catering Company’s Jim Beatty, and Chef Eva Carrillo and Doreen Amirault.

The Gala was also an opportunity to for Di Mare to acknowledge and award three individuals with the President’s Medallion for distinguished service to the university and distinguished alumni achievement. This year’s honorees included the late Anthony Capps-Cappozzolo, Dorothy De Niro and head coach of the ThunderWolves football team, John Wristen.

Cappozzolo was a major contributor to the university. He contributed nearly half a million dollars and more than a hundred thousand dollars in gifts to the university during his life. Cappozzolo was a professional dancer and instructor and responsible for funding several scholarships. He also named the University the sole beneficiary to his trust before his death, worth approximately four million dollars.

De Niro received a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from the university in 1967.  She has been a visiting professor for the university since 2008. In 2006, De Niro was inducted in to the Colorado Nurses Association Hall of Fame and has received several awards in her career for her professional achievements.

Coach John Wristen, former student athlete ’84, was also honored at the Gala for his out-standing work with student athletes and his recent success with the school football team. Wristen led the ThunderWolves football team to an 11-0 undefeated season resulting in a  number one national ranking and a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship.

The average net proceeds from the event from 2003 to 2010 was about $40,000 with average attendance at about 325. The 2011 event was the most successful event ever with around 300 guests and net proceeds around $70,000.  

Over 450 guest were reportedly invited to attend this year’s gala. The numbers have not been computed for this years event, but if the past is any indicator, it was likely the most successful Gala to date. More details on numbers will be included when they become available.