Perhaps as a symbol of the quest for excellence that it expects of the deans of its five schools, the University of San Diego displayed the America's Cup at the cocktail reception that preceded the third annual Deans' Ball, given Saturday at the Town & Country Hotel's Atlas Ballroom for 400 guests.
The gleaming silver trophy made the scene courtesy of Kim Fletcher, who, in addition to sharing ball chairmanship duties with his wife, Marilyn, is chairman of Home Federal Savings and Loan Assn., the current custodian of the cup. Though the trophy arrived with some ceremony (it made the short trip from downtown by limousine) and was flanked by both uniformed guards and a pair of USD Navy ROTC midshipmen, not everyone took immediate notice of its presence. More than one cream cheese- and caviar-stuffed strawberry (yes, really) fell to the floor when passing guests caught sight of the ungainly creation in the bulletproof case and realized that they were in the presence of the cup that launched a thousand ships.
Focus of Attention
The brightest spotlights, however, fell on the four USD deans present. If it was their duty to serve as the focus of attention, it was their privilege to share in the loot. The ball's proceeds will be divided evenly among the deans, to be used to further any academic purposes they may choose. Several expect to use some of the proceeds to fund scholarships. Representing their schools were C. Joseph Pusateri of the College of Arts and Sciences, James M. Burns of the School of Business Administration, Edward F. De Roche of the School of Education and Sheldon Krantz of the School of Law. Irene S. Palmer, who will be retiring this summer as dean of the Philip Y. Hahn School of Nursing, did not attend.
The evening was something of a family affair, since the guest list included many of the university's longtime friends and supporters. There was even a family connection with the orchestra that played between courses in the smoked salmon and duck breast dinner. When he is not waving his baton, bandleader Curt Stan can be found in the science laboratories at USD, where is he a professor of biology.
Master of Ceremonies John McNamara, vice president for university relations, set the tone for the formal portion of the program with his opening remarks. "We celebrate our good fortune in having men and women of the highest quality who have brought us to our academic prominence today," he said.
The deans were honored specifically and at length later in a joint presentation made by university Provost Sister Sally Furay and Dean of Students Thomas Burke. That came after President Author Hughes amused the audience by explaining the roles of various officials within the university.
"It's up to the deans to see that I talk but not think, and that the faculty thinks but doesn't talk," he said.
A further family connection--that between Furay and the Old Globe Theatre--resulted in the surprise post-dinner entertainment. Jonathan McMurtry, a regular Globe performer (he played the title role in last summer's "Tartuffe"), offered what he modestly called "15 minutes of Shakespeare." The rolling recitation of monologues, sonnets and soliloquies included bits from "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and "The Tempest."
The guest list included Assemblywoman Sunny Mojonnier and her husband, Erwin. They underwrote the floral centerpieces. Also present were Councilwoman Celia Ballesteros; Mary and Dan Mulvihill; Betty and Al DeBakcsy; Linda and Frank Alessio; Pat and Dan Derbes; Doris and Peter Hughes; Ernie and Edward Grimm; Jane and Herb Stoecklein; Elsie and Frank Weston; Maureen and Charles King; Marie and Dean Dunphy; Tommi and Bob Adelizzi; Claire Tavares; James and Kathy Burns, and Ruth and Jim Mulvaney.
The atmosphere wasn't quite as tense as at the Academy Awards, but nonetheless, a certain nervous electricity pulsed through the Sheraton Harbor Island's Grand Ballroom on Thursday when the 10 finalists for the Tom Sefton Outstanding Young Citizen Award for 1986 gathered with about 250 friends and community leaders for the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce's 41st annual Outstanding Young Citizen Award dinner.
The finalists looked pleased, flushed and excited as they greeted well-wishers during the cocktail reception, but they looked mostly as if they were ready to get down to the business of the award presentation. None claimed to have a speech prepared, but, if so, why did several seem to be practicing their remarks when they should have been engaging in cocktail chatter?
The list was balanced between men and women, and the smart money was betting that the odds favored a female win; the only other woman to take the award was Lynn Schenck, who captured it in 1975, the first year that women were placed in competition.
As it happened, the smart money did collect the wagers, but not until after the unfolding of a long and rather meaningful ceremony. After various speakers offered tributes (soon-to-depart Councilman William Jones, the 1983 award winner, gave a particularly stirring keynote address), the finalists were introduced to sustained bursts of applause.
They were attorney Rob Butterfield; Navy Chief Petty Officer Victoria Krinke; attorney Don McVay; development project manager Connie Postma; San Diego Gas & Electric regional governmental affairs advocate L.F. Schott; San Diego Chargers tight end Eric Sievers; KFMB public affairs director Maria Velasquez, and public relations specialist Gina Zanotti. Finalists Steve Vaus and Bree Walker were not present.
Master of Ceremonies Robert M. Arnhym did a good job of stretching the suspense--and the finalists' nerves--almost to the breaking point, but when the moment of truth arrived, a breathless Maria Velasquez made her way to the podium to accept the award from the 1985 Outstanding Young Citizen, Reese Jarrett. Velasquez stands to be named one of the 10 outstanding young citizens of the United States, should she first take the honors for California.
The dinner committee included Margaret Boniface, Kristie and Steve Whitman, Peggy Cassel, Fran Maday, Alex Toth, Dan McAllister, and S.D. Junior Chamber President Chuck Salas.
LA JOLLA--Earlier the same evening, the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art called together its corporate benefactors for a sneak preview of the "Smorgon Family Collection of Contemporary American Art," an exhibition of 1980s works collected by the leading industrial family of Melbourne, Australia.
Fifty or so guests assembled for cocktails in the museum court, and later, after tours of the exhibition, adjourned for a multicourse banquet at George's at the Cove.
Museum director Hugh Davies explained that he found a happy symmetry in choosing the corporate benefactors group as sponsors of this particular show, simply because the Smorgon family is so important in business Down Under.
Among those present were partial exhibit underwriters Ivor and Collette Royston, and preview dinner organizer Heather Metcalf with her husband, Jack. Other guests were Angela and Reint Reinders, Jeanne and Larry Lawrence, Susie and Rob Lankford, Paula and George Hauer, Diane and Chris Caulkins, Leslie Simon and Michael Krichman, Anne and Tim Moore, Donna and Jim Askins, and Laurie and Roger Josephs.