The third annual Vaughn College Gala was held in the William R. DeCota Hangar on the College’s campus on Thursday, November 10. Marion C. Blakey, president and chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce North America was the honoree. Blakey received an honorary doctorate from Vaughn in 2002.

The gala is an opportunity for professionals in the industries the College serves to connect with students, faculty and staff and learn how they can help support the Vaughn community. Donations were encouraged through a silent auction and a “text-to-give” feature, which directly benefited the Vaughn College Student Experience Fund, developed to help sponsor students’ off-campus experiences. Proceeds from the Gala will be used to fund scholarships and institutional priorities.

Broadcast journalist and eight-time Emmy Award winner, Lou Young,  served as master of ceremonies for the evening. Guests were shown a video highlighting the outstanding academic and professional achievements of eight Vaughn students and two alumni, followed by speeches from Thomas J. McKee, chair of the Vaughn College Board of Trustees, Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo and Honoree Dr. Blakey.

“We are in an unprecedented era of opportunity in the world as companies increasingly look for new talent across the diversity spectrum and technological advances push the limits of the imagination,” said Blakey. “And I love the imagery of ‘Launching Careers;’ because we aren’t teaching our youth to aspire to mediocrity. No, we want to teach them to dream big and then have the courage to follow those dreams.”

Rolls-Royce donated four helicopter T-63 turbine engines to Vaughn for use in the College’s aviation training institute.

“Marion and Rolls-Royce have been so generous in their support of Vaughn College and have a strong commitment to aviation education, internships and career opportunity,” said DeVivo. “We are deeply appreciative of our relationship and shared vision, and are grateful for the engine donations that will directly benefit students in our aviation maintenance program.”

Vaughn will hold its next fundraising gala in fall 2017.