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Posted on June 7, 2011

See photos from the 2011 President’s Gala.

A record-setting crowd of 340 University friends, alumni, faculty, staff and students had a grand time “Puttin’ On the Ritz” June 4 at the 2011 President’s Gala.

The 18th annual black-tie event, held once again at the Omni William Penn hotel in Pittsburgh, benefits student scholarships and caps off the annual Alumni Weekend celebration.

“We extend a very sincere ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you for joining us and helping us raise much-needed scholarship dollars for our deserving students,” said President Angelo Armenti, Jr., who hosted the event with First Lady Barbara Armenti.

The President’s Gala has raised nearly $1.4 million since its inception in 1994. Over the years, net proceeds of more than $750,000 have provided scholarships for deserving Cal U students.

Honorary chairs for the gala were Robert Lippencott ’66 and his wife, Suzanne.  A retired Secret Service agent — and a former Cal U scholarship recipient himself — Lippencott is a member of the board for the Foundation for California University.

“We know that each of you feels the way we do about our University and our students, and that ‘paying it forward’ is a concept that all of us understand,” he told the guests. “Through your generosity, we will be able to provide much-needed support for our students.”

The 2011 faculty award winners honored during the event were:

Honorary chairs are Robert ’66 and Suzanne Lippencott.

Gwendolyn Simmons, a longtime member of the University’s Council of Trustees, accepted the Lillian M. Bassi Core Values Award. A leader in numerous civic organizations, especially in the Mon Valley, the Monongahela resident has been a generous University benefactor and a strong advocate for Cal U and its students.

After dinner in the Omni’s Grand Ballroom, guests at the gala enjoyed a dessert bar, casino games and dancing to the Benny Benack Orchestra. They also placed bids on more than 50 silent auction items, including vacation stays and themed gift baskets.

Proceeds from the silent auction added to the scholarship fund, as well.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy getting dressed up and attending a fancy, fun-filled event,” said Craig Butzine, vice president for Marketing and University Relations.

“But the real winners are the Cal U students who will receive scholarship dollars raised at the gala — an event they can look forward to attending themselves once they’ve established their own careers.”

See photos from the 2011 President’s Gala.