Students First Donors Luncheon 2012
Columbia College Chicago's second annual Students First Donors Luncheon on November 6, brought together donors and scholarship recipients for an afternoon of recognition.
Guests were greeted by the music of the Student Jazz Ensemble. Scholarship recipient and president of Columbia’s Student Government Association Cassandra Norris provided an introduction to the lunch,
thanking donors and discussing how her scholarship helped her to focus more on school and worry less about money. VP of Student Affairs Mark Kelly spoke of the benefit of a Columbia education. Columbia College Chicago President Warrick L. Carter also announced the extension of the Scholarship Columbia matching program.
After lunch, student scholarship recipients Kendall Williamson, Jacob Biniszkiewicz, Gabrielle Stinnett, Edwin Diaz, and Jasmine Jackson presented awards to honorees in four categories: Outstanding Foundation, Outstanding Individual, Outstanding Corporation, and Culture of Philanthropy. The students spoke about their Columbia experiences, and highlighted the importance of donors in each of the categories.
Weaver Family Foundation was presented with the Students First Outstanding Foundation award, which was accepted by Leslie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg. The Weaver Family Foundation was established in 2002 by the late William Weaver, a former chairman and CEO of AMCOL International. Numerous organizations are supported by the foundation, with interests ranging from the arts and culture, to education and social welfare. After William’s death in 2005, Leslie Weaver and husband Hilton Weinberg took over the WFF’s administration. Leslie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg met while pursuing their master’s degrees in the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management (AEMM) Department at Columbia. After earning their degrees, Hilton went on to pursue a career in the music industry, working at Alligator Records and later as a personal manager for bands. Leslie Weaver continues the family tradition as an active philanthropist. Leslie and Hilton have stayed connected to Columbia, and have been donors since 1997. In 2009, they made a major commitment to support Scholarship Columbia through the Weaver Family Foundation.
Cynthia Green McChesney and Clay Greene received the Students First Outstanding Individual award. In 2006, Cynthia and Clay established the Clarke A. Greene Memorial Scholarship for Entrepreneurial Spirit at Columbia in memory of their father, Clarke Greene, a faculty member of the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management (AEMM) Department at Columbia who died in 2005 at age 76. The scholarship recognizes entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding academic achievement in a continuing junior or senior Arts Management student. It is awarded to students who demonstrate both outstanding achievement and aptitude in running a business. Clarke Greene found his true calling as a tenured professor at Columbia –in Clay’s words, “Teaching budding artists how to be good business people and not be starving artists if they could avoid it.” Clarke Greene joined Columbia as a part-time faculty member in the early1990s, and became part of the full-time faculty in 1998.
The Nielsen Company received the Students First Outstanding Corporation award. The Nielsen Company is a global information and measurement company that operates in the areas of marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. In 2010 The Nielsen Company made a major five-year commitment to support students at Columbia. This innovative program partners with Scholarship Columbia to provide scholarships, while offering Nielsen public affairs internships to juniors and seniors studying communications, public relations, public affairs, or journalism.
The Faculty & Staff Scholarship Initiative Committee received the Culture of Philanthropy award. This initiative is a grassroots effort to support students while building community among faculty, staff and alumni at Columbia. The Initiative raises money for Scholarship Columbia through “BYO Everything” parties that employ the talents, skills, and creativity of faculty and staff to produce a uniquely Columbia event. To date, the Initiative has held four events, all with a creative theme. Since the Initiative’s founding in 2009, an estimated 1,000 faculty and staff members have volunteered their time and money, talent and resources, serving as committee members, event performers, party planners, stage managers, prop builders, web designers, talent managers, and silent auction donors. In addition to making a significant contribution to Scholarship Columbia, the Initiative has helped to bring Columbia together to collaborate, celebrate, and support our students.
*Photos by Jonathan Mathias Photography