Vaughn College hosted its seventh annual gala on Thursday, November 4 in the William R. DeCota  Hangar on the College’s main campus. The honoree for this year’s event was Stephen A. Alterman, president of Cargo Airline Association since 1982, and chairman of the Transportation Security Administration  Aviation  Security Advisory Committee.   

The Gala welcomed professionals in the industries that the College serves and provided an opportunity for attendees to  connect  with students, faculty and staff to learn ways they can support Vaughn students. Donations were encouraged through a mobile-friendly, silent auction and a “text-to-give” feature. Proceeds raised benefit the Vaughn College Student Experience  Fund which was developed to help sponsor students’ off-campus learning experiences such as the attendance at conferences such as 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.  

Darren DeVivo, radio personality and Disk Jockey at WFUV 90.7 FM, was the emcee for the evening. Attendees were shown a video highlighting success stories of Vaughn alumni over the last few years, including graduates who are now working at Northrup Grumman, Atlas Air, SpaceX, Tradewind Aviation and more. This was followed by speeches from Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, newly elected Chair of Vaughn’s Board of Trustees and grandson of one of the institutions founders Peter Vaughn, and Honoree Alterman.   

Alterman was familiar with Vaughn College having visited the campus in the past where he met with students to discuss career avenues available with a Vaughn degree. During his gala address, he expressed thanks at being honored and noted. “The future of the aviation industry is vitally dependent on educational institutions like Vaughn College. Tomorrow’s leaders are at Vaughn today, and everyone at Vaughn should be proud of your contributions that enable both passenger and cargo airlines to fill their job openings with a talented and diverse group of young hires,” said Alterman. “This leadership is especially important today, as the aviation industry struggles with labor shortage and new entrants and new technologies flood the marketplace.  

Chair Vaughn noted, “I remember growing up walking these halls and have such an  appreciation  for the progress of this institution. How do you continue that pathway of transformation? You set audacious goals that ask you to innovate for student success.” 

This was the first gala Vaughn hosted in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The last 20 months have been difficult for everyone, and  particularly  residents of Queens, the epicenter of the virus in the early days,” said President DeVivo. “Vaughn’s students were deeply impacted and have demonstrated  incredible resilience and commitment to their education during the last 20 months. We were nimble, flexible and responsive in the best Vaughn tradition. That only happens when you have a community, and I mean many people in our community, who share a common set of core values and a vision to be transformative.”    

Vaughn will hold its next fundraising gala in fall 2022.  

Peter Vaughn, board of trustees chair, thanking the attendees for their support.


Honoree Alterman addressing the audience.