Universal appeal for patrons of all arts
There was recently a celebration that took place to mark a milestone birthday in the city’s history. Its occurrence brought together patrons from every sector of Philadelphia’s extraordinary corner of the market when it comes to art and higher education. It was a gala for The University of the Arts (UA) and its 140 years serving its matriculates and the community.
People from all sectors of the area’s businesses, commerce, law, education and medical entities, descended on the Bellevue Hotel to fete the institution, as well as its graduates, professors, supporters and current students.
Founded a century after the Declaration of Independence was signed, UA is one of just a few places nationwide to offer a curriculum for those interested in pursuing careers that have to do with the performing or visual arts. Students have the options to explore degrees and careers in designing jewelry, iron works, furniture, painting, crafts, photography and more recently film making, videos and musical productions.
The evening was not just an ode to the university’s longevity, but also marked another momentous occasion for UA, the arrival last winter of its new president, David Yager. A “jack of all trades” the gentleman has worked in a variety of places including stints at pharmaceutical companies, automotive businesses and medically related institutions. Before tackling work at Fortune 500 companies, Yager was a department chairman at the University of So. Florida where he’d overseen its Graphicstudio so he’s come well-prepared to address the possible issues, challenges and excitement of an inner-city college.
Another part of the gala evening was spent in honoring two people who’ve made significant contributions to the school. Trustee Eleanor Davis was presented with the inaugural “Hamilton Award”. Named after local philanthropist and former UA board chairwoman, Dorrance Hamilton, the criteria for receiving it is embodying all the qualities Hamilton has poured forth throughout her life, including a spirit of giving back and paying it forward from a generous heart.
The other honoree, Professor Stephen Tarantal, also an emeritus designee, is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement after many years in his position.
What really got the audience revved at the anniversary gala was a presentation by one of Philadelphia’s home-grown stars, Leslie Odom, Jr. Fresh from his role as Aaron Burr in the mega-hit Broadway production of Hamilton, Odom ‘jazzed’ up the assemblage with a montage of songs from his award winning Tony and Grammy performances. Its impact will hopefully continue to resonate throughout the commemorative year.
To take advantage of all that’s afoot for UA’s 140th anniversary celebration visit the website at www. uarts.edu.
Dick and Lois Frieder of Elkins Park head off to look for their seats with Janet Kardon of New York City and Harvey Hewit of Philadelphia.
Broadway actor Leslie Odom, Jr. (center) is surrounded by David Yager, president of the University of the Arts and event emcee Jeff Hammond.
When the dinner bell rings Jay Devine of Strafford escorts his wife, Bridget, and Mary Duden to their table.
Joyce Burd of Philadelphia admires the U of A sported clothing worn by Ron and Suzanne Naples of Wynnewood.
The evening’s honorees Eleanor Davis and Stephen Tarantal await the award ceremonies.
University of the Arts board chairman Brian Effron of Bryn Mawr escorts wife Sherry to their table.
Physician Bob Perkel and the Mann Center’s president and CEO Cathy Cahill get their party mood going.
Alita Moses and Thor Webster Booker take a gander at the masterfully decorated ballroom of the Bellevue Hotel.