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Palm Beach  Society News  Pages 1 
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Black Tie International:
Oxbridge Academy
Bridget Koch, Bill Koch.  Photo by:  Lucien Capehart Photography

Bridget and Bill Koch
Photo by:  Lucien Capehart Photography

More than 300 guests -- all clad in their western best attended a boot-stompin’ bonanza to benefit Oxbridge Academy on Feb. 6 at the Palm Beach home of school founders, Bridget and Bill Koch.  Themed The New Frontier of Education, the evening featured dinner, square dancing, music by Roger Helton of Dolly Parton’s Family Band, and so much more.  Bridget Koch, Darlene Jordan, Karin Luter and Christina O'Donnell were co-chairs of the event, which raised an impressive $4 million to support the independent secondary school’s exceptional academic, athletic and fine arts programs.

The Old West-inspired theme was imaginatively carried through all aspects of the event by designer, Bruce Sutka. Highlights included Bill Koch being ‘arrested’ for his excessive generosity to Oxbridge Academy and sent to cool his heels in an authentic mobile jail. David Koch sprung his twin brother from jail with bail set at $100,000. Also detained in the increasingly crowded jail wagon were Oxbridge President and CEO, Bob Parsons; Football Coach Doug Socha; and Athletic Director Craig Sponsky. They were held until generous guests bailed them out.

Thomas Quick led the live auction of naming opportunities for programs and features on the school campus. The William H. Pitt Foundation secured the naming rights in advance to the Oxbridge Academy stadium for $2.2 million. At the gala, Janet and JJ Cafaro were the highest bidders for the Institute for Aviation program at $50,000. Other top bidders included Lesly Smith who underwrote the black box theater, Thomas Peterffy who funded the iCommons, and Eileen and Brian Burns who supported the visual arts wing. Suzanne and Lawrence F. De George showed their support with the gift of a Times Square-like scoreboard for the athletic field. 

In addition to the chairs, notable guests included Danielle Hickox Moore; Lesly Smith; Judith Giuliani; Janet and JJ Cafaro; David Koch; Don Burns; Amin Khoury; June and Tim Rooney; Patti and Patrick Rooney, Jr.; Bob Wetenhall; Suzanne and Lawrence F. De George; Hilary and Wilbur Ross; school board member Richard Callahan and his wife, Cynthia; school board member Bob Simses and his wife, Mary; and school board member Bob Kaufman and his wife, Ellen.

Oxbridge Academy was founded in 2011 by energy magnate and philanthropist William I. Koch. The independent secondary school’s mission is to inspire wisdom through learning in an environment that fosters inquiry, collaboration, innovation, and personal discovery. At Oxbridge, students fall in love with learning through engagement in academic and community-based projects that speak to their talents and interests, and spark their curiosity and passion. The 56-acre campus features classrooms equipped with advanced technologies; creative art spaces; advanced laboratories; a university-modeled “information commons;” a fully equipped digital media center; a 400-seat performance center and auditorium; visual arts and dance studios; gymnasium; and a 4,500-square foot, cutting-edge fitness center and weight room. School grounds include six lighted tennis courts; a swimming pool; lighted outdoor playing fields; and a stadium with artificial turf for football, soccer and lacrosse. Oxbridge Academy is located at 3151 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL, 33409. For more information, visit  
or call 561-972-9600.



joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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