Chapman Celebrates is a night that typically brings in more than $1 million in donations. In the past, the university has budgeted around $500,000 for expenses related to the event, and it’s typically the university’s highest-grossing fundraiser of the featured year.
Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir, who received Chapman’s Lifetime Achievement in the Arts award this year, performed an acoustic version of his song “Easy To Slip” at the Nov. 3 event, which was marked by its glamorous costumes, lightings and productions.
“I love this school, and I love that this is a scholarship event,” Weir said at the event. “Kids (on scholarships) bring something to the school that non-scholarship kids can use.”
The fundraiser also featured performances that ranged from renditions of ‘80s pop hits to dramatic reenactments of the movie “Titanic.”
Held in the Musco Center for the Arts at 7 p.m., donors, supporters of the university and the performing arts program came to watch productions that involved more than 170 students. Chapman Celebrates raised a little more than $1.75 million by the end of the night.
“This is our 38th annual celebration,” University President Daniele Struppa said to an audience of around 500. “We are proud to showcase the breathtaking talent of the students and faculty.”
Chapman Celebrates has raised more than $37 million in the years it’s been held said Sheryl Bourgeois, executive vice president of University Advancement.
Mid-show, Weir, came onstage to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts, which is meant to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the arts.
After more student performances, a video featuring Jasmine Johnson, a 2015 alumna who was once homeless but was able to attend Chapman on scholarship, was shown.
“My experience at Chapman changed my life for the better. I am who I am because Chapman took a chance on me and the donors decided to give to students who are in need,” Johnson told The Panther. “I came to Chapman homeless and now I’m not homeless. I’m now changing other people’s lives because the donors decided to change my life.”
Johnson, now a writer and motivational speaker, wrote a book called, “When Life Serves You Lemons: My Life from Tragedy to Triumph and Your Guide to Making the Best Lemonade,” which is set for release in late 2018.
The 2018 Citizenship Award was presented to Zeinab Dabbah and Daniel Temianka at the event. Dabbah, who is a 2012 Chapman law alumna is a vice chair on Chapman’s Board of Trustees.
Temianka and Dabbah donated more than $2 million to start a scholarship in the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music.
“I want to thank my mother for ensuring I received an education … otherwise I would not be here,” Dabbah said when receiving her award.
The night closed with a performance of “Fame,” which received a standing ovation from the crowd.