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Black Tie International:
Lewis University's 23rd Annual Arts Gala


Lewis University's
23rd Annual Arts Gala
A Huge Success!


Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, presents Carol Wassberg with the 2010 St. Genesius Award.

Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, presents
Carol Wassberg with the 2010 St. Genesius Award.


ROMEOVILLE—More than 200 guests attended Lewis University’s 23rd annual Arts Gala, held Saturday, March 6, as a benefit for the University’s Arts & Ideas series. Sponsored by Lewis and its Cultural Advisory Board, the event featured “A Night at the Louvre” as its theme.

The multi-faceted event, held on the Lewis campus in Romeoville, featured an award ceremony with entertainment in the Philip Lynch Theatre, an art exhibit, a cocktail reception in the Dining Hall, and a four-course gourmet dinner with entertainment, silent auction and raffle. 

One of the highlights of the evening was the appearance of three Lewis students in “living art.”  Dressed in costume with theatrical makeup, three theatre majors—Jackie Staszak of Willowbrook, Sean Barber of Aurora, and Kate Sisto
of Orland Park, each appeared in artwork that included “The Scream” by
Edvard Munch, Picasso’s “Guitar” and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.

Among the features at Arts Gala 2010 were decorations with a French theme that included prints by multiple artists; a “pyramid” reminiscent of the entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris that was designed by Andrew Nelsen of Joliet, a Lewis alumnus and member of the Cultural Advisory Board; Paris café décor in the dining hall; and a gourmet meal with a French flair.  Decorations were created by Mohra Gavankar of Joliet, assisted by Elaine Ruettiger of New Lenox, both of whom are Trustees of Lewis University and members of its Cultural Advisory Board. 

The Arts Gala started in the Philip Lynch Theatre with the presentation of the 2010 St. Genesius Award, named in honor of the patron saint of actors and the arts. This year’s award was presented by Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President of Lewis University, to Carol Wassberg of Alsip, Coordinator of the Cultural Advisory Board for two decades and advocate for the arts.

“Lewis University is recognizing Carol for her distinguished career, which has included an abiding appreciation and promotion of the arts—music, theatre, literature, painting, sculpture, and dance,” said Brother Gaffney. 

Following the ceremony and musical performances by soprano Linden Christ and pianist Steven Heliotes, Gala guests walked through the Caterpillar Art Gallery, where “A Story with Pictures,” an exhibit with oil paintings, charcoal drawings and wood cut prints by Ian Wright, was on display. Violinist Casey McGrath performed during the cocktail reception which also featured a Silent Auction. The Gala dinner included entertainment by Paula Schorp and the Nova Soul Quartet. 

      The Arts Gala events have raised more than half a million dollars to fund the Arts & Ideas series, Lewis University programming which presents concerts, films, plays, lectures, seminars, conferences and theatrical events that are open to both students and the public free of charge or at a nominal fee. 

      Members of the Cultural Advisory Board include: Elaine Ruettiger, Lynne Lichtenauer, and Lorin Lynch of New Lenox; Joy Alexander, Susan Perry Peyla, and Renee Tonelli of Shorewood; Karen Tyler of Elwood; Sandy Prodehl of Burr Ridge; Barbara Gutierrez of Manhattan; Rita Berglund, Oswego; Carol Wassberg of Alsip; Chet Kondratowicz of Chicago; and the following Joliet residents –Barbara Eberhard, Mohra Gavankar, Jean P. Hatzis, Lorraine Lucenta, Wendy McCay, Andrew Nelsen, Sherri Reardon, Joan Rogers, Kim Roolf, Rosemary Stephen,  Keith White and Mary Jane Whiteside.  Brother James chairs the Board.

      The 2010 Arts Gala was dedicated to the memory of Suzanne Turk of Joliet, a Cultural Advisory Board member for nearly 20 years who died in 2009 after a courageous struggle against cancer.

A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The ninth largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the sixth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. For more information please visit .




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