A 200th birthday doesn't get celebrated every day, and obviously some 1,500 folks didn't want to miss out, as they turned out for the 2007 Bicentennial Gala for the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Faculty, administrators, alumni, students and friends arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center, where they were greeted by historical re-enactors portraying famous Marylanders such as Samuel Mudd and John Carroll.
As they enjoyed cocktail hour in the mezzanine, guests marveled at the landmark anniversary.
"Did you know this was the first public medical school in this country?" asked University of Maryland Medical Center president/CEO Jeff Rivest, who was there with wife Michelle.
"It's amazing. It's the oldest facility here [in Baltimore] and people just don't know it," said Frank Palmer, Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. senior vice president.
"You think about what's happened in this country in the last 200 years, and this place has seen it," added Mike Gill, a member of the University System of Maryland's board of regents.
"I think it's fabulous. We're putting Baltimore on the map," said Erica Cryor, Morgan State University development director, as she and her husband, Mike Cryor, surveyed the happy throng.
"I was here at the founding, and I can tell you it's changed a lot in the years since," regents member David Nevins said jokingly before adding a genuine observation.
"Think about it. They didn't have Novocain or penicillin when this place was founded."
Medical school Dean Dr. E. Albert Reece summed up the event and the celebration: "It is incredible because you're putting together all kinds of people from all levels. What's interesting is that everyone is excited about the same things - our heritage and our accomplishments."
A drink with Vincent De Paul
Actor De Paul keeps moving
Baltimore native Vincent De Paul, 39, is a single model/actor who refers to his life as "tri-coastal" -- constantly on the move among homes in Baltimore, Los Angeles and Miami Beach. He's appeared in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Men's Health, and in movies and television shows including Riding in Cars With Boys, Poseidon, Sex and the City, Acapulco Heat and As The World Turns. While Vincent De Paul is his professional name, he was born Salvatore Vincent Zannino and grew up in the Highlandtown home that also housed the family business, the Joseph N. Zannino Jr. Funeral Home. His first taste of the big time came in 1987, when he was cast in John Waters' original Hairspray, playing one of the kids on the fictitious Corny Collins Show. Not only was your life a bit like Six Feet Under, but you actually played a role on the series.
I played a Hollywood junkie, who snorted the ashes of his best friend at the Fisher Funeral Home. That was the season opener for the second season.
It seems like you're constantly on the move ... describe what your life is like these days.
I'm in New York reading for roles, maybe spend a week there. Then travel and read in Los Angeles for episodes, pilots and movies. Then, I find out what I booked. Like, today, (reading off his BlackBerry), "Hi Vincent. You have a casting tomorrow at 10 a.m. You are reading for the role of Dr. McDreamboat." It's for [the ABC soap opera] All My Children. So, I get these details, and I have to be very flexible to travel, read, and embody the character, perform and then travel back. Everyone thinks this industry is very amazing and glamorous and cool. But, sometimes it can be a schlep, a haul.
Does all the schlepping get old?
It encourages me to keep forging ahead, because I know there are so many opportunities.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Eating in buffets in Las Vegas. Every half-year, I used to model for a Baltimore-based company, I.C. Isaacs -- they licensed the brand Marithe + Francois Girbaud jeans -- in Las Vegas. And I would go to the Luxor's Pharaoh's Pheast buffet. I would eat for two to three hours.
What's your favorite food?
Either creme brulee or chocolate brownies with heaping amounts of Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean ice cream and -- not just regular peanuts -- but honey-roasted peanuts.
What's your favorite movie?
Definitely The Godfather. I think the cinematography is amazing. I [recently] worked in a film with Bobby De Niro, directed by Barry Levinson. And in the film, my brother is a Hollywood agent who dies. ... At the cemetery, Bruce Willis and Bobby De Niro pay respect to me and my mom.
Interesting ... your life keeps coming back to funerals.
Yeah. ... I [may] wear my surfer shorts and swim in the ocean in South Beach, but I keep getting these roles that bring me back to my mortician father.
WINE TASTING AT SUNSET
Benefits Friends of Patterson Park
The Pagoda in Patterson Park, 27 S. Patterson Park Ave.
$50 in advance and at door
22ND ANNIVERSARY GALA
Benefits Associated Black Charities
Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, 101 W. Fayette St.
Tickets $195, $500 including 7 p.m. VIP reception
410-659-0000, Ext. 1210 or abc-md.org
50TH ANNIVERSARY GALA
Benefits Mildred Mindell Cancer Foundation
Black tie optional
Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road
PARTY OUTSIDE THE BOX
Benefits Art With a Heart
Casual cocktail attire
Bottle Building at Brewer's Hill, 3600 Boston St.
$75 in advance, $85 at door