The Crowd: Thousands donated to Chapman students

The Fashionable Women of Chapman University presented an impressive check for $236,000 to Chapman Dean Bob Bassett at a June 18 luncheon held in the Cabana Room of The Island Hotel, Newport Beach. Bassett is the dean of Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and the Fashionable Women, a longstanding and dedicated auxiliary, pledged a $1 million student filmmaker endowment fund to which this recent contribution will apply. The summer get together is an annual event marking the changing of the guard within the organization along with the all important exercise of welcoming new members joining forces to support the goals of Chapman University.

Over the last two decades in Orange County, under the leadership of university President Dr. Jim Doti, the campus of higher learning has elevated from relative obscurity to a level of national recognition on many different fronts. The Dodge College is considered one of the most prominent film and media arts programs in America, joining the ranks of highly respected institutions such as UCLA, USC and NYU.

Part of this success belongs to the extremely dedicated men and women of Orange County who have rallied around Doti and his major contributors, including former board chairs George Argyros and his wife Julianne, Don and DeeDee Sodaro, and a host of others.

The Fashionable Women have been front and center as well, raising multi-millions of dollars for various University projects, including the construction of the stunning All Faiths Chapel on campus and presently putting their energy toward assisting the growth of The Dodge College.

The afternoon began with a warm welcome from Charlene Prager, the widow of the much loved Orange County restaurateur Hans Prager, and outgoing president of The Fashionable Women. She was joined by luncheon co-chairs Donna Bunce and Donna Calvert, greeting new members and returning donors including Fran Cashen, Sheri Nazaroff, Dana Gray, Kay Burra, Carol Lee, Deborah Bridges, and Grace Thelen.

Among the new members joining the fold were Judy Kolar, Debbie Douglas, Nancy Christiano, Susan Schick, and Michele DiBella.

Adrienne Brennan will assume the role of president of The Fashionable Women, following a most generous pledge of $1 million made to the University last Christmas at the annual holiday luncheon at The Ritz. She was responsible for creating an auxiliary within the group known as "The Leading Ladies," a society within the society where members commit to a membership fee of $1,000.

A few of The Leading Ladies are Zee Allred, Janet Curci, Kathy Hamilton, Sue Hook, Rusty Hood, Mary Roosevelt, Joyce Tucker, Patti Edwards, Valaree Wahler, and Fritzie Williams.

Following a spirited address by Dean Bassett and additional introductions and recognition paid to honored guests, including Mona Nesseth, the crowd enjoyed luncheon and informal modeling presented by Neiman Marcus and fronted by Neiman's executives Ariela Shani and Michaele Hall.

Also supporting Chapman in the crowd were Donna Bianchi, Barbara Eidson, Nancy Burnett, Bette Aitken, Twyla Martin, Joan Riach-Gaynor, Irene Mathews, Dawn Washer, Phyllis Shafer, Marion Pickens, and her daughter Alison McCormick.

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