Schools and Service
Black and Gold Hoorah!
As they have each year for decades, local Vanderbilt University alumni, family and friends gathered for the annual Summer Send-Off Party as guests of the Berger family. Le Salon of the Windsor Court hotel was the site for the socializing hosted by Ryan Berger (VU 2005) and his wife, Amanda. Serving as honorary co-hosts were longtime Vanderbilt board member Darryl Berger and Louellen, Ryan’s parents, who started giving this party in 1982. Darryl Jr. and Corinne Berger and Brandon and Daphne Berger, all VU alumni, were also honorary co-hosts.
Special Vandy decorations of black and gold embellished the hotel’s first floor, recalling the school colors, which quite a few of the attendees sported. All the while, the Commodore contingent savored the array of refreshments as they talked about their memorable experiences at Vanderbilt. Listening attentively were the incoming freshmen, who were warmly welcomed. Within those ranks were Ashley Couget and Camryn Dinvaut of Mt. Carmel; Garrett Crumb and Malcolm Sundell of Jesuit; Imani Edwards of Ben Franklin; Leah Melancon and Leah Strickland of Ursuline; and Amanda Sisung of Cabrini.
Attending as the special university guest was Brett Sweet, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer for Vanderbilt. In his address to the assembly, he spoke about the commendable achievements of current and former Vanderbilt students, as well as the student experience on the Nashville, Tennessee, campus.
Listening with attention were former New Orleans Vanderbilt Chapter presidents such as Lee Adler and Michael Shlenker, along with active alumni Don Abaunza, Mike and Betty Bagot, Chuck and Allison Talley and Chandra and Jimmy Williams, who played college football at Vanderbilt and later was a cornerback in the National Football League with four teams
Current student Palmer Montalbano, the recipient of the prestigious Ingram Scholarship, was accompanied by parents Ron and Wanda Montalbano. Another student, Kalija Lipscomb, star receiver for the Commodore football team, was joined by mom Karanja. Scores more turned out for the annual event and the show of university solidarity. And fun.
Amy Gutmann is the president of the University of Pennsylvania, which is located in the City of Brotherly Love and is Philadelphia’s largest private employer (and second in the state).
In New Orleans, alumni strength is represented each year when the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Louisiana holds its annual Send Off/Welcome event. Once again, club President Austin and Beth Lavin, both Penn 2006, held the party at their home. But this time, it was a new home, which was roundly complimented. Penn buttons, pennants and pompoms sent from Philadelphia by the office of Alumni Relations served as right-on decorations.
Meanwhile, guests perused the framed photographs by Austin’s late grandfather, Art Shay (1922-2018), who joined the staff of Life magazine as a writer and soon became a freelance photographer for a series of important national magazines. He photographed seven U.S. presidents and notable figures of the 20th century. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and The Art Institute of Chicago include his works in their permanent collections.
Among the attendees were incoming freshmen Halley Travis (with mom Cynthia) from Monroe and Claire Moreau, the 2018 valedictorian of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. Claire is also a community volunteer, a member of the National Honor Society, one of the 35 A+ Athletes in the Greater New Orleans area selected by McDonald’s and WWL-TV, and the recipient of All-State honors in volleyball and track and field. The two students will be joined soon by three other freshmen from Louisiana at the Ivy League University founded in 1740.
Features of the gathering were catering (specialty sandwiches and craft beers and wines) by alum Dan Stein of Stein’s Market and Deli; a Quaker Colada featuring Roulaison Rum from Roulaison Distilling Co. that was founded by alums Andrew Lohfeld and Patrick Hernandez; Green-to-Go snacks; and thematic cookies in red and blue baked by JCB Creations.
Elissa Bluth (with Ed), the club’s Alumni Interview Committee chairwoman, thanked all of the alumni who volunteered their time interviewing this year’s applicants. Because of their efforts, every applicant from Louisiana was interviewed.
Further attendees were Oliver Hadley and Thea Crane, Kwasi Asare, Sharree Walls, Catherine Ondrizek, Laure Scariano, Leon Rittenberg III, Seena Simon and Scott Griffin, Amy and Phil Stelly, J.T. Heffernan and Sally Baker, Nicole and Bob Stone, Marc Hart, Dennis Hart, Lisa Heller (a former home host), Tricia Hotard Moreau (Claire’s mom) and baby Max Lavin (a future Penn student?). Big sister Amelia was not present.
More good news in the Lavin family is Beth’s recent M.B.A. degree (Tulane University) and Austin’s laurels. He was awarded the 2018 University of Pennsylvania Young Alumni Award of Merit for his outstanding volunteerism on behalf of the university. He will receive the award at Penn’s annual November Black-Tie Alumni Gala. Kudos!
Taking a break from community service, the JLNO Fun Fete Society Dinner Club rallied Junior League of New Orleans members to Cava Restaurant on Harrison Avenue. Food and fun were at the fore. The menu included a choice of starter (soup du jour or grilled Caesar salad) and main course (fish, chicken, filet mignon or pork osso buco) and chocolate truffle mousse cake for dessert. Patriotic colors of red, white and blue figured within the centerpiece decorations.
Breaking bread were Mary Brooks Rodrigue, Nancy Jane Carson, Cynthia Coleman, Ann Dufrene, Kay Favrot, Patsy Gibbons, Dot Greene, Lesley Hardin, Maria Huete, Susan Ives, Juliet Laughlin, Maureen Matthews, Maria Skalos, Charlotte Spooner, Claire Stockton, Sara Swigart, Colleen Timmons and Cornelia “Lee” Wyma.