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Save the Date October 2, 2019
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Black Tie International:
The 25th Annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala


NEW YORK, NEW YORK (August 30th, 2019) – Dr. Marilyn A. Fraser, CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH), announced today the hosts and honorees for SportsBall 2019, the 25th Annual Black Tie & Sneakers Gala, to take place on Wednesday, October 2ndat the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Renowned guests representing sports, philanthropy, business, entertainment, and medicine will gather to celebrate the legacy of tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe. The event benefits the ongoing community health education programs and research initiatives of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.


The 2019 honorees will be:

  • Sydney C. Butts, MD FACS, chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University Hospital of Brooklyn/SUNY Downstate and Kings County Hospital Center, Vice Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate, and an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate. 

  • Stan Smith, tennis legend, winner of the U.S. Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972, and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

  • Guy Vickers, President of the PVH Foundation.

  • Cheryl Wills, Emmy-winning anchor for Spectrum NY1 Live at Ten, and host of In Focus with Cheryl Wills.


This year’s gala will be co-hosted by Ruschell BooneReporter and Anchor for Spectrum News NY1, and Les Trent, Senior Correspondent for Inside Edition. Dr. Marilyn A. Fraser, CEO of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, will preside over the gala.


About the 2019 Co-Hosts:

Ruschell Boone is a three-time Emmy-nominated and award-winning Reporter and Anchor for Spectrum News NY1. In 2018, she became a general assignment reporter for the station’s Live at Ten newscast. This year she received two Emmy nominations for her work on the show, including one for Best General Assignment Reporter. Last year, Boone’s exclusive live interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reacting to the news of her Democratic primary win went viral. The moment was featured in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.


Les Trent has been a New York-based senior correspondent at CBS Television Distribution's INSIDE EDITION covering breaking and feature stories around the world for twenty years. Prior to joining INSIDE EDITION, Trent spent five years as an on-air correspondent for King World's American Journal. The Emmy-nominated Trent also served more than ten years as a local reporter in San Francisco, California, and Buffalo, N.Y., where he has been inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

About the 2019 Honorees:

Sydney C. Butts, MD serves as the chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University Hospital Brooklyn/SUNY Downstate and Kings County Hospital Center a position she has held since August 2009. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate and an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at SUNY Downstate. 


Dr. Butts’ clinical focus includes the management of cleft lip and palate anomalies, adult and pediatric maxillofacial trauma, local/regional flap surgery especially in skin cancer patients, rhinoplasty, and the management of other soft tissue lesions that require a reconstructive approach. To address the needs of children born with congenital facial anomalies, she has developed several multidisciplinary initiatives based at SUNY Downstate to help coordinate care for patients who require challenging surgery and rehabilitation services beginning in infancy. The impact of congenital anomalies on children and families is significant and can be particularly stressful for families with other social stresses—the population of patients served by Downstate. To understand these issues more, Dr. Butts applied for and was awarded the  President’s Health Disparities Grant by SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 2015.


Dr. Butts has written several book chapters and journal articles, presented research at national academic meetings, and been a guest faculty and invited lecturer on multiple reconstructive topics nationally and internationally. She serves on several national committees of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.


Service, volunteerism and mentoring have also been important priorities for Dr. Butts whose parents stressed the importance of helping others and giving back. She has worked internationally on surgical humanitarian missions to perform facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in underserved areas of the world, including Vietnam, Rwanda, and Liberia. She has mentored many medical students and worked with several medical student groups to provide guidance about careers in otolaryngology and residency at Downstate and is a member of the Diversity task force of the Society of University Otolaryngologists. Through service organizations including the Brooklyn Chapter of the Links, she has worked on fundraising efforts to support healthcare outreach in Liberia, Haiti, and Uganda.


A graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Butts completed a residency in otolaryngology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, followed by fellowship training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. She is Board certified in otolaryngology and is a diplomate of the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.


Stan Smith is a legend of his sport, not only for the myriad tennis titles on his resume, but also for the legacy of sportsmanship and courtesy he has brought to the profession, and which he continues to exude today.


He dominated tennis in the early 1970s, winning the U.S. Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972. In his career, he has won 39 singles titles and represented his country in the Davis Cup for 10 years, helping to win the coveted championship seven times. He was the number one player in the world in 1971 and 1972, and the United States’ top-ranked player in 1969, 1971, 1972, and 1973. He has won 61 doubles crowns during his career, most of those with his long-time playing partner Bob Lutz. He won the 35-and-over title at Wimbledon in 1984 and 1985 and at the U.S. Open in 1984, the 55-and over title at the US Open in 2002 and 2004, and was the coach of the 2000 U.S. Olympic tennis team in Sydney.   


Smith was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986 and became the President of the organization in 2011. He was Director of Coaching for the USTA Player Development Program from 1986-1994 and Associate Director of Player Development from 1995-1998. He is the Co-Founder and current Manager of the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy at Sea Pines Resort and has been the Touring Pro for Sea Pines since 1971.


Smith is a Trustee of the Heritage Classic Foundation and serves as its Charity Committee Chairman raising funds for the community through the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament. He is the Chairman of Stan Smith Events, working with corporations to help them entertain their clients around major sporting events. 


Smith and his wife Margie reside in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and are actively involved in the Hilton Head Boys and Girls Club. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.  


Guy Vickers is the President of the PVH Foundation at PVH Corp., based in New York City. Guy is responsible for expanding the PVH Foundation through global strategic programming and philanthropic partnerships valued at over $25M, as well as building a platform for Community Relations that aligns each of the PVH businesses and brands (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Heritage Brands) on a global basis.


Prior to PVH, Guy led the Tommy Hilfiger Group’s philanthropic interests as President of the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation for over 15 years. Mr. Vickers also served as Vice President of Community Affairs, overseeing the company’s involvement with both local and global communities and non-profit organizations. Working alongside Tommy Hilfiger, Guy’s leadership was instrumental in establishing and upholding the three main pillars of the Foundation: Education, Health, and Youth & Culture.


Born in Douglas, Georgia and raised in Elmira, New York, Guy resides in New Jersey with his wife, Shawanda, and three children, Indee, Hanna, and Guy Alexander. 


Cheryl  Wills is   veteran anchor for  Spectrum News   NY1 currently celebrating her 25th anniversary with the national news team. She is the primetime anchor for NY1’s Live at Ten and the host of the public affairs show In Focus with Cheryl Wills. In 2018, Cheryl became the first African-American reporter in NY1’s history to win an Emmy Award.


Wills is the author of three books about her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills who fought in The Civil War: Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale, an illustrated children's book The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills, and a YA book Emancipated: My Family's Fight for Freedom. Cheryl has been invited to do readings of her Emancipation Series to tens of thousands of students across the country.


Wills is a graduate of The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, with a major in Broadcast Journalism. She received an Honorary Doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005. She is a member of the Women’s Forum of New York.


About the SportsBall:

SportsBall 2019 is a celebration with a purpose. Each year, the Institute honors individuals and organizations that are making significant contributions to urban communities in the areas of health, education, medical research, community service, and philanthropy. The funds raised at SportsBall support the Institute’s innovative community health education programs and research initiatives. Arthur Ashe founded the Institute in 1992, just two months before his death from AIDS, in response to the disproportionate amount of illness and death in urban communities from preventable diseases. Arthur knew that many of these diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, were the result of inadequate health care delivery systems, late detection, and insufficient health education. 


About the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health

In 1992, Arthur Ashe established the Institute in partnership with SUNY Downstate, moved by the institution's long history of serving immigrants and low-income Brooklyn residents, as well as its staff and faculty's research. The Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, located in multi-ethnic Brooklyn, collaborates with community members to design and conduct neighborhood-based interventions that address health conditions that disproportionately affect minorities. Recognizing the complexity of the economic and social determinants of health, the Institute partners with a wide variety of grassroots and institutional organizations to provide after-school science enrichment, outreach initiatives in trusted venues, and research and advocacy. Community Health Empowerment guides and unifies all of the Institute’s work.


For additional information about SportsBall 2019 and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, go to:


For more information about the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and its upcoming SportsBall, contact James Grant at:


Joyce Brooks and Gerard Mc Keon.  Photo by:  Rose Billings /

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