50th Anniversary Gala Celebrates Student Success

A record-setting crowd of 540 guests enjoyed Midtown Educational Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala on November 3 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. The event raised more than $1.1 million, a record amount, to support virtue-based academic enrichment programs at the Metro Achievement Center for girls and Midtown Center for boys.

The evening program began with the below video tribute to five accomplished alumni, one from each of the past five decades.  On stage, they represented the nearly 22,000 students who have been guided toward academic and career success since the centers were established in 1965 and 1985, respectively. (View full profiles of each of the 5 alumni here.)

A sixth alumnus, Randy DeVaul, who graduated from Stanford with a degree in communications and was one of the first 100 employees at Facebook, was featured in a news report that aired nationally on Fox News Channel this summer. (View the full news coverage here.)

Two recent alumni, recipients of annual college scholarship awards from Dan and Pat Jorndt, spoke about the positive impact that attending Metro and Midtown had on their development, college enrollment, and career aspirations as a chemical engineer and accountant.

A Metro girl and Midtown boy then joined a professional “mom” on stage to showcase the history of MEF through the years, entertaining the audience through song, old-time images, funny one-liners and multiple mentions of MEF’s longest-standing corporate benefactor, Walgreens.

The evening concluded with the presentation of MEF’s annual Reach for Excellence Awards to John R.Ettelson, President and CEO of William Blair, and Aylwin B. Lewis, President and CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Now in their 24th year, the awards honor individuals of strong character and integrity who lead exemplary professional and personal lives.

Many thanks to Dr. Sandy Goldberg, NBC5 Chicago, for emceeing the event, and to the hundreds of guests who celebrated student success in grand style. 

Enjoy photos from the evening: