Annual Gala Supports Student Achievement

Annual Gala Supports Student Achievement

Annual Gala Supports Student Achievement

The annual Educating for Justice Gala sponsored by the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees drew 250 friends and supporters of the College and raised more than $450,000, the net proceeds from which will support scholarships and programs that help students achieve their academic and career goals.

Held on May 8 at The Plaza Hotel, the event honored Anna Deavere Smith, the actress, playwright, educator and activist, outgoing John Jay College President Jeremy Travis, and the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation. The evening also featured a tribute to the founding supporters of the John Jay-Vera Fellows Program: Jeffrey R. Gural, Ronay A. and Richard Menschel, Arthur J. Mirante II, Ron L. Moelis, Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., and Herbert Sturz.

 

At the gala, which was hosted by award-winning journalist and filmmaker Bill Moyers, College officials also announced that the Jeremy Travis Study Abroad Scholarship, created to honor Travis’s 13 years of leading John Jay, had met its initial $100,000 fundraising target. The scholarship will enable undergraduate and graduate students to pursue immersive study-abroad opportunities that might otherwise be out of reach due to financial need.

Deavere Smith was cited for her innovative use of theater and film to raise awareness on issues of equity and justice. A 2013 recipient of the National Humanities Medal, she recently launched the Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project, which uses theater and film to focus on the forces that cause some impoverished children to leave school and head toward cycles of incarceration.

(l-r) LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, Beth Lief and Jules Kroll
(l-r) LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, Beth Lief and Jules Kroll

The Petrie Foundation promotes quality public education in New York City. The foundation’s support helped create an emergency fund at John Jay that has provided financial relief for students in desperate situations and enabled them to stay in school and complete their degrees. The Petrie Cyber Security Pipeline Program prepares community college students to advance into John Jay’s undergraduate cybersecurity program and careers in a growing field.

“I am delighted to be honored alongside these fierce advocates for justice,” said President Travis, who will step down on Aug. 1. In his acceptance remarks, he paid special tribute to John Jay’s students, noting: “You have been my inspiration, my reason for going the extra mile. And you are the grounds for our optimism about our country’s future. You give life to our mission of educating for justice.”

(l-r) President Jeremy Travis, Bill Moyer and  Anna Deavere Smith
(l-r) President Jeremy Travis, Bill Moyer and  
Anna Deavere Smith

Numerous prominent guests and civic leaders were on hand for the festivities, including New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado; New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman; New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter; Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; New York City Veterans Affairs Commissioner Loree Sutton; former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton; First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker; and City University Chancellor James Milliken.