On Thier Toes

In just a year, Moravian College’s Celebration Ball went from an unknown event to a party that raised almost $27,000 for the College. For its third year, the organizers see no reason it can’t make the same kind of leap.

“I anticipate a huge growth,” said co-chairman Patricia Nemesh Schoenen ’70. In addition to a much larger working committee of more than 40 volunteers, she notes that the ball organizers will publish a program book by soliciting sponsorship money; that the decoration and food committee will look for in-kind support of their efforts to transform Johnston Hall; and that the table committee has been very active in promoting the ball at class reunions and at events involving parents. Also, Albarell Electric of Bethlehem has stepped forward to be the title sponsor for the 2004 event.

The ball is a way for the College community to have a good time and do good at the same time. “If you’re going to ask someone for money,” says Jeanne Taccarino Guaraldo ’69, who chaired the ball its first two years, “you need to develop a relationship first or you may as well not ask.”

Guaraldo knows of what she speaks. A tireless volunteer for worthy causes on and off campus, she believes in the power of connection. Alumni are looking for a way to reconnect with the institution, she says, and the ball is a high-profile vehicle for them to do so.

T he first ball, in 2002, was not a fund-raiser per se. It was held on the October weekend that the new Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex was dedicated and made a festive finale to Trustees’ Week and the ribbon-cutting for the building. “The first year of an unknown event, everyone waits to see what happens,” Guaraldo says. And sure enough, word of mouth was so positive that the 2003 ball drew nearly 300 people and raised an encouraging amount of money for Moravian athletics.

Of the face value of the ticket ($150), one-third goes to a designated College project, says Deborah L. Evans, director of constituent relations in the President’s Office and staff coordinator for the ball. The remainder goes to the expenses of the ball, though these are being minimized every year by increasing numbers of in-kind donations (flowers, food, decorations).The 2004 ball, to be held Saturday, October 23, will raise money for additional Comenius Scholarships. Schoenen says: “We’re extremely optimistic that we will at least double the amount raised in 2003.”

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Trustee Fred Reinhard dances the night away with Kim Bell.

Michael Ellis ’72 and his fiancee Kathleen Hanna enjoy the Celebration Ball 2003.

Photos: John Kish IV