Columbia College's Open Doors Gala brought out more than 300 of our town's notables for a black-tie event at the college's Jeanne Gang-designed Media Production Center on Dec. 7. The sold-out evening honored John H. Bryan with the Chicago Legacy Award. Linda Johnson Rice (last year's honoree) presented this award to Bryan in memory of her father, John H. Johnson, saying, "I am happy to bestow this honor on a family friend, a friend of my father's and a true Renaissance man." The award is presented to individuals who have made an impact in the community and have helped open doors for future generations.
As guests walked the red carpet, they were greeted by models wearing creations by Columbia College alumni like Kendra DeKuiper, Agnes Hamerlik, Pedro Larios and Deana Mysliwiec. Student performance artists entertained guests during the reception and led them into dinner behind giant, oversize puppets.
Allen Turner, board chairman, and Dr. Warrick Carter, president, welcomed guests "on behalf of the college's 11,000 students." The evening's entertainment included more than 90 students, representing 11 departments, with presentations in music, dance, fashion and theater and closing with the Columbia College Gospel Choir singing "Can We All Come Together?"
Co-chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Marshall Field, Richard Kiphart and Sylvia Neil, the evening raised more than $800,000 to support the Johnson Legacy Project, which is a $10 million funding initiative established to preserve and extend the legacy of John H. and Eunice W. Johnson. This campaign will support Columbia's library, establish scholarship funds, create a John H. Johnson office exhibit and help preserve the "EBONY-JET" sign on the Johnson Publishing Building at 820 S. Michigan Ave.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers
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