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The Crowd:

Chapman University gets $1-million gift

December 25, 2009|By B.W. Cook

The ladies welcomed the upbeat crowd and thanked committee members, including social doyenne Donna Bunce, Kathy Hamilton, Christine Sullivan, Marci Hollander, Anne Manassero, Joanne Jurczyx, Leslie Cancellieri, Donna Bianchi, Carol Lee, Nora Jorgenson Johnson, and the super dedicated Sue Hook, who works tirelessly for many charitable causes in Orange County, most especially devoted to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

The afternoon always begins with a traditional receiving line at the front door of the Ritz. Dignitaries shaking the hands of the arriving crush included the much loved couple, Chapman President Jim Doti and his wife, Lynn. Carolers dressed in classic Dickens attire sing holiday selections while Santa makes sure that patrons have the correct valet parking ticket for their shinning sleighs.

Midday cocktails in the Ritz Garden patio are a who’s who, shoulder to shoulder crowd of Orange County society. Chapman students and alumni are busy selling opportunity prize tickets for what has become one of the most extravagant raffle drawings in the area. Dressed in their Christmas best were Zee Allred and Drago Gligic, George and Shannon Argyros Jr., Lin Auer, the beautiful Mary Dell Barkouras — in from Rancho Mirage — Cindy Boragno, Barbara Bowie, Janet Curci, Kristina Dodge, Sandra Brodie, Nancy Burnett, Annie Freedland, Lula Halfacre with her daughter Natalie Halfacre, Ollie Hill, Shelly and Steve Hupp, and the glamorous Joan Riach and her new fiancé, Wally Gaynor. Also busy buying Chapman raffle tickets were Patsy Gehl, Pamela and Tim Kashani, Marc and Trish Kaplan, Ruth and Roger Miller, Bell Lindquist, Charlie Lerner, and prominent Newport Beach real estate professional Alison McCormick and her husband, attorney Kimo McCormick, along with their mother, the lovely Marion Pickens.


The crowd was ushered into the restaurant for luncheon, which is always a major Christmas feast beginning with the Ritz signature wild mushroom cappuccino soup, followed by a seared tournado of filet mignon, and one of the best desserts on the Orange Coast — also a Ritz standard — the warm winter pear cheese cake in phyllo with caramel sauce.

Spotted table hopping were Betty Moss, Mona Lee Nesseth, Gretchen and Mark Pace, Shirley Pepys, Bill Peters, Sharon McNalley, Mary Roosevelt, David and Anne Rosenberg, Judy Threshie, Valaree Wahler, Don and Deedee Sodaro, Fritzi Williams, Mary Ann Wentworth, Bobbitt Williams, and Ron and Gail Soderling.

During luncheon the incredible opportunity prizes were drawn. Prizes included generous donations from such vendors as Neiman Marcus, Escada, Vuitton, Saks Fifth Avenue, South Coast Plaza, Fashion Island, Bvlgari, Cartier, the St. Regis, the Island Hotel, and many other incredible prizes worth literally thousands of dollars each.

The grand prize at the luncheon was donated by Lula Halfacre of Traditional Jeweler, a platinum and diamond drop necklace, valued at $10,900.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays.

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