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2 Benefits, 2 Boffo Bottom Lines

November 09, 1989|PAMELA MARIN | Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

New math: Eleven hundred guests. Ticket price $250. Net proceeds $200,000.

Those were the booming bottom lines on Saturday at Saint Joseph Hospital's 60th anniversary gala, a black-tie dinner-and-show affair in the Anaheim Hilton. Proceeds will go into the hospital endowment fund, according to event chairman Brad Olson.

Olson--who also headed last year's benefit--attributed the phenomenal size and financial success of the party to increased participation of doctors and other hospital staff.

"What put us over the top this year was the tremendous support we had from the medical community, both in ticket sales and in underwriting," Olson said.

Mel Lieberman, one of the four doctors on the party steering committee, said including doctors was "a novel idea" three years ago.

"No one had ever really asked us to act as patrons," said Lieberman, a radiologist who has been with the hospital for 20 years. "We started getting involved three years ago, then we enriched it last year. This year, I made it a personal goal of mine to meet Brad's goal (of $200,000)."

Lieberman added that the big dinner ticket was easier to sell with the promise of a stage show--this year, country gal Louise Mandrell.

"Obviously, we're here to support the hospital," Lieberman said, "so we'd be here if the entertainment was Attila the Hun. But it's a lot easier to generate enthusiasm if people can look forward to a show."

Playing to an audience that included nuns from the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who founded the Orange-based hospital in 1929, Mandrell sang, danced, fiddled and shook her pink-culotted backside at the audience during a show-bizzy, hour-long set. Guests then hit the dance floor to burn calories with Barry Cole's orchestra until almost 2 a.m.

Chapman's new man: Also on Saturday, also big, Chapman College hosted its 8th annual "An American Celebration" benefit at the Anaheim Marriott, drawing more than 700 guests at $150 each and raising an estimated $250,000 for the school's scholarship fund.

This year's event served as a getting-to-know-you party for new president Allen Koenig, who reported for work at the Orange campus on Oct. 1.

Koenig and his wife, Judy, met with board members and other notables in a private suite during cocktail hour. Between greetings and congratulations, Koenig--who came to Orange County from Boston, where he was president of Emerson College for 10 years--said he saw himself "first and foremost as an academic president. That's where my priorities are."

While his party talk focused on college expansion--Koenig has said he would like to see the 2,100-student enrollment up by as much as 50% within five years--Judy Koenig had more modest concerns.

"Right now, all I can think about is getting my kids settled in their new schools and getting them started with some new friends," she said with a laugh.

James Moore, a college trustee and board member for 15 years, characterized the mood on campus as "filled with anticipation. Everyone's wondering what this (change of presidents) portends."

For his part, trustee Chuck Martin is thinking positively. "In the '80s, (Chapman) went from financial difficulties to financial strength," he said. "The challenge for the '90s is building an institution that is recognized academically. I think we'll be thought of as among the 10 top small colleges in Southern California."

Among others in the private reception were Bob and Debbi Elliott, who co-chaired the event; George Argyros, chairman of the board of trustees, and his wife, Judie; Myron and Lorene Cole; Dennis and Mary Lou Savage; Paul and Virginia Knott Bender, and Donna and John Crean, who wore a diamond hummingbird lapel pin. (Why a hummingbird? " 'Cause I'm known to flap my wings real hard and not go anywhere," he said.)

Dinner entertainment included a video-and-slide introduction to the Koenigs and a tribute to Broadway that featured nearly 150 student singers, dancers and musicians, as well as a 60-member student production staff. As with the seven previous American Celebrations, the show was produced and directed by communications professor Ron Thronson.

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