Vaughn College hosted its eighth annual gala on Thursday, April 13 at the New York LaGuardia Airport Marriott hotel honoring Nicholas E. Calio, president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America (A4A), the trade association for the country’s leading passenger and cargo airlines. Anne Thompson, chief environmental affairs correspondent for NBC News, was the emcee for the evening.  

The Gala welcomed professionals in the industries that the College prepares graduates to work in and provided an opportunity for attendees to connect with students, faculty and staff to learn ways they can support Vaughn students. The Gala was the most successful to date with more than $475,000 raised in proceeds to fund institutional priorities including scholarships and the Vaughn College Student Experience Fund that supports students’ off-campus learning experiences such as the attendance at conferences including the Society of Women Engineers, the American Association of Airport Executives, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. Oftentimes, these experiences result in internship and full-time job opportunities for Vaughn students.   

Attendees were shown a video highlighting success stories of Vaughn students focusing on opportunities that sets Vaughn apart from other colleges. This was followed by comments from Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, Chair of Vaughn’s Board of Trustees and grandson of one of the institutions founders Peter Vaughn, and Honoree Calio.  

“From our original roots in the first hangar at Newark Airport training aircraft maintenance technicians, we now have over 21 graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs serving one of the most diverse student populations in our history,” said Chair Vaughn.  

President DeVivo noted that the College is building the workforce of tomorrow and graduating a highly diverse group of talented students with the knowledge, practical skills and leadership qualities to have an impact today and in the future. “That constant focus on innovation and curriculum development, coupled with our dedication to the lifelong learning of our students, will help ensure our students are there to meet the incredible industry demand we know exists today and are confident will be there tomorrow.” 

Calio expressed his thanks at being honored in his gala address and noted. “Vaughn College does an exceptional job of instilling the same message my parents instilled on me,” said Calio. “The value of working hard to turn opportunity and dreams into reality.”   

Vaughn will hold its next fundraising gala in spring 2024.