The 49th Annual Trustees’ Scholarship Ball was held Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. CCSJ alumni, friends, and benefactors celebrated with a five-course, gourmet meal, an early-dinner serenade by Artiststrings, and after-dinner dancing to the eclectic sound of Phase IV.
The College “didn’t miss a beat,” said Jim Owczarzak, Class of ‘67, who attended the Ball for the first time.
This year Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of the City of Gary was a special guest.
“It was excellent,” Mayor Freeman commented, “a great way to support a great cause.”
At the heart of the evening’s program, the College honored three community leaders—Thomas Gryzbek, Michael Puente, and NIPSCO—for their commitment, work and support.
The College presented its highest honor, the St. Joseph the Worker Award, to Thomas Gryzbek, the current President of Franciscan St. Margaret Health in Dyer. The award, Gryzbek said, is special to him. “I’ve always had a great admiration for St. Joseph. In his kind support of Jesus and Mary, guiding their lives and keeping them safe, he shows us the ‘calling of family’ and provides a role model for what it means to support one another.” Throughout his career, Gryzbek has extended his helping hand in healthcare and beyond, serving in many key leadership roles, including service as a Deacon at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Merrillville.
Michael Puente, Class of ‘92, received the Brother Gerard Von Hagel Alumni Award. Since joining WBEZ 91.5FM in 2006, Puente has served as the voice of Northwest Indiana on the Chicago airwaves. Throughout his journalism career, he has taken the values and spirit of his alma mater into the public sphere, receiving more than three-dozen awards for his work. “On a lot of them [award lists], you will see at the top, ‘Calumet College of St. Joseph,’ because of me, and if I can represent CCSJ like that, that really is my goal,” Puente said. “Calumet College of St. Joseph allowed me to become the journalist I am today.”
The Corporate Leadership Award, presented to NIPSCO, was accepted on the company’s behalf by Rick Calinski, District Manager of Public Affairs. In 2013, NIPSCO donated more than $1 million to over 250 non-profit organizations. NIPSCO employees demonstrate leadership by serving on multiple non-profit boards throughout the Region.“Being a great corporate citizen to the communities in which we serve, we are extremely proud to serve our customers to the best of our abilities,” Calinski said. “We are working on that every day.”
At this year’s Ball, the College also acknowledged four donors who this year reached a milestone, contributing more than $20,000 to CCSJ, thus becoming the newest members of the St. Gaspar Society. The honorees were Tony and Margaret Abildua, Barbara and Daniel Lowery, St. Catherine Hospital, and alumnus Jesse Garcia. “I didn’t know I had donated that much over the years,” said Garcia, Class of ‘80, who was pleasantly shocked to hear his name announced. “I just do things because it’s the right thing to do. But every little bit adds up.” Garcia has attended the Ball each year for several years.
Board of Trustees member Denise Dillard is also a regular attendee, purchasing one, full table each year. “Raising scholarship money for our students is phenomenal,” Dillard said. “CCSJ is always showing the best—the best people, the best opportunity.”
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