March 24, 2003

Spend the evening with a Ziegfeld Follies beauty, Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Mae West, Al Capone or a character from an Agatha Christie mystery at the 3rd Annual President’s Ball, Steppin’ Out in the Roaring 20s.

The black tie/period costume affair begins at 7 pm, Saturday, April 12 at the City Club of Fort Worth. For more information on sponsorships, individual tickets and how to donate items and services to the silent auction, call the University of North Texas Health Science Center Office of Institutional Advancement at 817-735-5493.

Students and faculty of the world-renowned UNT College of Music will entertain guests throughout the evening with authentic ballroom, Broadway, blues, jazz and popular tunes from the 1920s. The fundraising gala will also feature dance and costume contests; and a silent auction featuring antiques, gourmet meals, fine jewelry and vacation getaways to destinations such as Cancun, Niagra-on-the-Lake and the Delaware coast.

Sponsorships are available at the $10,000, $5,000, $3,000 and $500 levels, and are tax-deductible. Donor benefits range from a dinner for 10 hosted by UNTHSC President Ronald Blanck and his wife, Donna, at their home to VIP campus tours and receptions with the president.

Kay Day, who chairs the ball’s volunteer planning committee, says that this annual event isn’t just a great party, but the primary method of growing an increasingly important financial resource for the health science center.

Day explained that net proceeds from the ball go into the President’s Progress Fund, "which helps the school achieve what state allocations cannot." Some examples of how donations are used, she said, include alumni activities at state and national conferences; financial assistance for student organizations; seed money for clinical and research initiatives; and the ability for President Blanck, his staff and faculty members to go "on the road" to raise greater awareness of the school’s educational, research and patient care capabilities and accomplishments.

Acquiring donations to the President’s Progress Fund are more important than ever, Dr. Blanck said, in light of the State of Texas’ budget crisis and its severe impact on state agencies such as the health science center. On the Fort Worth campus there has been a hiring and wage freeze, more than a dozen layoffs and a reduction in some services — a $3.1 million total cutback. Further reductions are possible next fiscal year as well.

Honorary chairs for the event are U.S. Rep. Kay Granger and Pier 1 Imports Chairman and CEO Marvin Girouard. An all-volunteer President’s Ball Planning Committee is working with the UNTHSC Office of Institutional Advancement to organize the ball. Joining Day on the committee are Pam Adams, Betty Barnett, Donna Blanck, Ann Brooks, Marie Lansford, Sandra Lewis and Susan Selman.


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