2011 Open Doors Gala
Columbia College Chicago’s 2011 Open Doors Gala on Nov. 5 hosted 250 community and business leaders and friends of the college to benefit the Open Doors Scholarship Fund for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates to attend Columbia College.
The black-tie event, which was an evening of spectacles and musical performances by Columbia’s community of student artists, was held on campus at the Media Production Center (MPC).
Guests were initially greeted by models wearing a selection of student designs from fashion studies majors. The corridors of the MPC were lined with student art installations and projections of student photo and art works. The evening’s entertainment featured performances by the Columbia College Gospel Choir & Rhythm Section plus special student-driven spectacles. Open Doors Scholarship recipient Serafin Lopez, a senior art & design major and CPS graduate, spoke during the program about how the scholarship allowed him to choose his “number one school” and enabled him to work less and focus more on school while at Columbia College.
Also during the program, Linda Johnson Rice, chairman of Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company, was presented with the college’s inaugural Chicago Legacy Award, created to recognize those who have made a significant impact in the Chicago community and have helped “open doors” for future generations. Johnson Publishing has a long-standing relationship with Columbia College, including hiring interns and graduates. Columbia College recently purchased the Johnson Publishing Building headquarters on S. Michigan Avenue for the future site of the college library.
"Many a Columbia College journalism student has spent summers participating in our internship programs, and impressed us so much with their work ethic and job preparedness, we’ve hired them," Rice said in talking about Johnson Publishing's connection when accepting the award. "The intellectual exchange runs both ways. Several of our editors have served as adjunct professors, delighted to bring to the students the breadth of knowledge and experience they’ve gained during their years as working journalists. It is a relationship we value greatly."
Rice’s leadership of Johnson Publishing Company – home of Ebony and Jet magazines and Fashion Fair Cosmetics – has secured the corporation’s position as the top African-American owned and operated publishing company in the world. In addition to her service on the boards of a wide range of organizations, she supports several education initiatives, both individually and through Johnson Publishing Company’s charitable donations. Johnson Rice has received many recognitions, including the Women of Power Award from the National Urban League and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting.
*Photos by Steve Becker, Robert Kusel, & Wally Reichert