Otis College of Art Reaps Record Support

Don’t believe for a minute that Los Angeles fund-raisers don’t care deeply about the next generation and aren’t struggling through tough economic times to excel.

Efforts for the Otis College of Art and Design’s 75th anniversary commemorative journal--to be presented to guests at the college’s annual Critics’ Awards Gala Fashion Show April 30 at the Century Plaza--have elicited a record-breaking $350,000 in scholarship support for students at the mid-Wilshire arts campus.

At a cocktail party hosted by Otis trustee Bronya Galef and husband Andy in their Bel-Air home, there was ecstasy over the success co-chaired by Joan and John Hotchkis, Carole Sumner Krechman and Sue Keanne, and it now puts tickets to the gala student fashion show chaired by Nancy and Tim Vreeland at a premium.

Presiding at the cocktail kickoff were Otis president Neil Hoffman and fashion department chair Rosemary Brantley. Present, too, were this year’s recipients of the Otis Fashion Achievement Awards: Mossimo Giannulli of Mossimo and Larry Hansel, founder and CEO of the fast-growing Rampage. Committee members exulting: Susie and Norm Barker, Constance Towers Gavin, Jennifer Kaufman, Annette O’Malley, Susan and Peter Strauss.



Big 100th: Connie Gavin chairs the 20th Anniversary Leader Luncheon for this centennial year of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles April 28 at the Westin Bonaventure. Listening to the goal of $150,000 at the California Club kickoff were Nancy Daly, Judy Miller (newly appointed commissioner of the Department of Water and Power) and Adrienne Hall. For Gavin, actress and wife of former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico John Gavin, the effort will be pure joy.

She’s from tough stock. Her grandmother was head of the Temperance Union for Idaho, Montana and Washington. “She always told me: Stay at the YWCA when you travel--you’ll always be safe there.” And Connie, herself, remembers the indignity of being refused a bank loan to buy a home because she was a woman with two young children, divorced and an actress. (Her dad helped her out.)

The YWCA has really kept up, she says. “Today, we have rape centers,” and the organization offers services for boys, too.


An illustrious banner of six women will be honored. More later.


The Best: Chatter after the Music Center Spotlight Awards Tuesday evening in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was all raves about the marvelous young talent onstage and the incredible successes of students honored in previous years at the event launched by Peggy and Walter Grauman.

Said emcee Gregory Harrison, “This grew up from what might be called amazing grace.”

Allan Burns: “The best talent ever.”

Grauman: “They all have wonderful careers ahead of them.”

Fred Roberts of the sponsoring Fraternity of Friends: “We have succeeded in creating positive images in high schools with this.”

Doug Martin, regional vice president of Northern Telecom, which sponsored the gala: “It’s wonderful to get away from the bits and bites.”


This year 650 applicants took private auditions; then 90 were selected as finalists and given mentoring and special lessons, and 12 competed on stage with six $5,000 winners: Derek Kwan, jazz instrumental; Hiromi Ushino, ballet; Kristine Remigio, pop-musical theater vocal; Alpin Seung-Hi Hong, piano; Danielle Hobbs, jazz-modern dance, and Laura Griffith, opera. They were judged by an incredible array of judges--the likes of Alan Bergman, Hal David, Paula Kelly, Harry (Sweets) Edison, Gerald Arpino.

Later Peggy and Anne Johnson received bouquets of white tulips for the lovely dinner--a piano theme of white and black. Dining past 11 o’clock were (550 for a $110,000 net) Bridget and John Martens (home from “paradise"--Annapuri on the Isle of Phuket); Stuart and Carrie Ketchum; Brigitte and Sheldon Stanfill; Helen Bing; Bill Siart and his fiancee, Nevada lawyer Laura Moore (they wed in May at the desert), and Ginny Mancini, without composer/pianist Henry, who has cancer (he has been a judge through most of the Spotlights). Might all the young people mature to be as kind, generous and gallant as he.


Two Nice People: Orange County residents Clement and Lynn Hirsch were lauded as Humanitarians of the Year for their generosity to charities at the House Ear Institute gala at the Beverly Hilton. Lynn has long been a trustee of the institute, and Clement certainly hasn’t let a hearing aid ever let him miss a beat as a founder of Kal Kan Foods, founder and now chair of Stagg Foods and a life that beats to the tempo of horse races and turf clubs (he helped found the Oak Tree Racing Assn. and later the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.)

It was a starlit night with Nanette Fabray, Dudley Moore, Phyllis Diller and Carol Channing with a banner committee: Edward M. Carson, chair and CEO of First Interstate Bancorp; Peggy Edwards and Mrs. James De Rose of the Associates; Joyce Hameetman, and Bonnie Baker Sonance. Media Awards by “hearing-challenged” actors went to Lydia Heston and Richard Dysart.

The affair netted $350,000, according to founder Dr. Howard House.


Stars: Si and Virginia Ramo glitter like diamonds in a close, long marriage with heaps of humor. Cleverly, Elaine Leventhal asked him to give Virginia the “Vision Award” last week at the Luminaires luncheon and I. Magnin fashion show featuring the svelte Lanvin Collection. Eighth generation California philanthropist Alice Avery, Ginny Gaspar and Elizabeth Westerby chaired the affair for the Doheny Eye Institute.


Si, of course, has the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and he co-founded TRW. He plays the violin, graduated from Caltech and attends thousands of social events with Virginia, a USC graduate. He noted the voluminous mail and the incessant phone calls early in their marriage, and he says he asked her what she was doing. “She’d always say, ‘I am seeing other men,’ and indeed she was.”

She’s on the boards of USC, Music Center Opera, KUSC and Heart Assn. and has performed Herculean financial efforts for all. She told the audience his lauding was “highly embarrassing,” but she did mention he had forgotten her third-grade penmanship award. See, it all starts young.

Mary Lou Loper’s column is published Thursdays.