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Chapman Celebrates Fundraiser

| January 9, 2017 | Parties

Chapman Celebrates’ night of song and dance brings in a showstopping $1.5 million for student scholarships.

It may have been the 35th anniversary of Chapman University’s annual fundraiser, but it sparkled like new. Yet that stands to reason: The gala debuted its name change to Chapman Celebrates (formerly American Celebration), was hosted for the first time by President Daniele Struppa (who stepped in after Jim Doti retired) and premiered in the gleaming Musco Center for the Arts (it opened in the spring).

The crowd glittered as much as the scene—Mary Phillips was statuesque in an art deco gown, and Zeinab Dabbah looked bright in fuchsia. The awards, meanwhile, shined the spotlight on Am Cel co-founder Robert Elliott; philanthropists Thomas and Sharon Malloy; and Musco Center Dean William Hall, the latter of whom was given a surprise honor for his 54 years at the institution.

Equally unexpected: The student song-and-dance production blended Broadway with modern tunes (Madonna’s “Vogue” was an au courant addition) and showed off the steps of Struppa, who waltzed across the stage (with a bashful wink and a smile) with Julia Argyros, just like Doti before him. So, what was the encore? A dazzling $1.5 million tally. ‒Kristen Schott


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