Open Doors Gala Raises $800,000 to Benefit Scholarship Funds


CHICAGO (Dec. 18, 2012) – A capacity crowd of 300 guests at the recent Columbia College Chicago Open Doors Gala 2012 helped set a record $800,000 total raised by the event.  Funds will benefit Open Doors Scholarships for Chicago Public Schools graduates to attend Columbia College as well as new Columbia College scholarships being funded in memory of John H. and Eunice W. Johnson. The annual Open Doors Gala was held at Columbia College’s Media Production Center at 16th & State Streets.

A showcase of music, art, fashion, dance and spoken word presented by Columbia College students entertained guests at the event. Dinner was served in the Media Production Center’s   7,200-square-foot sound stage, with chocolate and white-themed modernist décor by Event Creative.  The menu, provided by J&L Catering, featured a “Deconstructed Beef Wellington,” composed of Sliced Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin served with Puff Pastry “Leaf” and a Truffled  Port Wine Reduction, while dessert offered a Chocolate and Pear Trio: Warm Molten Bittersweet Chocolate Lava Cake, Port Poached Pear, and Sour Cream Ice Cream.

The Open Doors Gala celebrates and showcases Columbia College student creative works – including presentation of works in the visual arts, fine arts, music, dance, theatre, and fashion design.  Entertainment during dinner was provided by more than 90 students representing 11 college departments, including roving theatre performers, the Columbia College Gospel Choir and student dancers.

Additionally, the annual Chicago Legacy Awardwas presented to civic leader John H. Bryan by the chairman of Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company and recipient of the 2011 Chicago Legacy Award, Linda Johnson Rice. Bryan is retired chairman and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. The Chicago Legacy Award honors those who have made a significant impact in the Chicago community and helped open doors for future generations.

The Gala was co-chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Marshall Field, Richard KiphartandSylvia Neil.  VIPs in attendance included: John & Neville Bryan, Tom & Madeleine Burrell, Columbia College Chicago President Dr. Warrick L.  & Laurel Carter, Dr. Warren King & Bonita Chapman, Christopher Clinton Conway, Douglas Druick, architect Jeanne Gang (who designed the Media Production Center) and Mark Schendel, Jack & Sandra Guthman, King & Caryn Harris, Nena Ivon, Vivan Teng, Terry & Lottie Mazany, Madeline Murphy Rabb, Barry & Anne Sabloff, Drs. David & Brenda Solomon, Marty & Devi Stern, Trustee Chair Allen M. & Lynn Turner, and Robert & Susan Wislow.  


Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 11,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit



Erin Purdy,, 312.369.8695

Steve Kauffman,, 312.369.7383