UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA FOUNDATION

Presidents Club Holiday Party 2015

Soaring to New Heights of Gratitude in 2015!

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    Guests were greeted warmly by students serving as flight attendants, who were equipped with all the info needed to make the “flight” as enjoyable as possible.
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    Every guest was a special passenger and received U of M pilot wings while checking in.
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    Before the program began, guests including U of M Foundation trustees John and Nancy Lindahl caught up with friends over drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
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    Bartenders at the Beverage Claim were ready to mix specialty cocktails like the “Go-Pher Takeoff” and the “Baggage Handler.”
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    The Tom Swain Room was transformed into Northern Star Airlines’ mod lounge, where “passengers” could relax with friends before dinner.
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    The University of Minnesota Morris Jazz Band played background music while guests mingled in Memorial Hall.
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    Dinner provided a wonderful time for reflecting on a great year of giving to the U of M. The lights dimmed as the pilot’s voice invited guests to sit back, relax, and enjoy the program.
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    But before the program could begin, the audience waited for one VIP passenger who arrived fashionably late to great applause.
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    Student-led dance group MinnesoTap started things off with a tap routine set to “Come Fly on My Golden Wings.”
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    UMF President and CEO Kathy Schmidlkofer gave a warm welcome: “We are celebrating a record-breaking year, and tonight you will hear directly from some of the talented individuals who benefit from your generosity.”
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    Ben Ihde, a 2015 graduate and co-founder of the College of Science and Engineering expo, kicked off a series of powerful testimonials from students, alumni, and faculty about what drives them to effect change in the world.
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    Senior Vinz Karl told about the U’s role in his developing passion for agriculture: “What drives me is mentoring others in the community. Together, we can bridge the gap between consumers and producers.”
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    After sharing how scholarship support has helped him pursue a music degree, sophomore Jason Flowers performed Frédéric Chopin’s Étude Op. 10, No. 1 as “in-flight entertainment.”
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    Regent Tom Anderson recalled his heart surgery 52 years ago by legendary U of M surgeon Dr. Walt Lillehei: “I am a testament to what can be accomplished at this University when skill, sacrifice, and generosity intersect.”
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    U of M Duluth senior Lauren Novak said ROTC provided her with critical scholarship support: “I’m proud to say I’ll graduate debt free with a degree in engineering and a confirmed job as an intelligence officer in the Air Force.”
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    President Kaler thanked Presidents Club members for their commitment and for all they do to “keep this University flying smoothly and high as we celebrate the holidays.”
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    The University Singers closed the program with a special “in-flight medley” arranged by graduate student Joshua Bauder, including classics such as “Come Fly with Me” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
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    As the audience applauded, the U of M Pep Band could be heard approaching.
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    Making another dramatic entrance, Goldy led the Pep Band into Memorial Hall to the surprise and delight of all.
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    The guests, including Life Trustees Marilyn Carlson Nelson and Luella Goldberg, leapt to their feet to join in singing the “Minnesota Rouser.”
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    As the program came to a close, the pilot’s voice invited guests to “disembark” for dessert and dancing.
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    The dessert buffet featured an assortment of desserts more indulgent than those served on most airplanes.
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    Along with dessert and drinks, the guests enjoyed dancing to the music of the George Maurer Band.
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    The dance floor quickly filled with Presidents Club members, as they celebrated an exceptional year of generosity to the University.
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    President Kaler smiled for the camera with University friends and leaders Regent Abdul Omari, Marie Friswold, Life Trustee Fred Friswold, and Trustee Emeritus Linda Mona.
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    Three of the evening’s speakers gathered for a photo: Ph.D. candidate Damir Utrzan, Monarch Lab founder Dr. Karen Oberhauser, and Dental School alum Dr. Michael Brooks.
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    Presidents Club members Duane Rost and Barbara Burwell posed with a suddenly bashful Goldy.
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    Robert D. Munson and Linda Causey paused for a photo while enjoying the music.
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    Roger Lacey, Dr. Stanley Goldberg, and UMF Trustee Brad Wallin smiled for the camera while catching up with one another.
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    Guests continued celebrating a wonderful year at the University throughout the evening, dancing atop floor décor that said it all: “Thanks to you, we’re soaring to new heights!”
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    The 2015 Presidents Club Holiday Party welcomed members aboard “Ski-U-Mah Flight Two-Zero-One-Five” on December 9 to celebrate a year of giving that soared to new heights.