A Gala and a Promise

In the 1970s, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was instrumental in saving Grand Central Terminal--one of New York City's most iconic buildings--and during the subsequent restoration efforts she envisioned Vanderbilt Hall as a grand event space.

NYU-Poly held its own grand event there, just as the legendary First Lady envisioned, on April 17, 2013. The i2e Gala, which drew 350 guests, honored Jerry Hultin, former president of NYU-Poly; Ursula M. Burns ’80, ’05 HON, the chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox; and Arthur C. Martinez ’60, ’08 HON, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears, Roebuck & Co. (retired), for their leadership and commitment to the principles of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Tara Lynn Wagner, a NY1 reporter who frequently covers tech stories, served as the emcee for the evening, and attendees heard speeches from President of NYU-Poly and Dean of Engineering at NYU Katepalli Sreenivasan and NYU President John Sexton. Although he couldn’t be there himself, former U.S. president Bill Clinton sent his congratulations to the honorees via video, lending his incomparable warmth and charm to the event.

Thanks to the generosity of the attendees and the hard work of all involved in its planning, the gala raised more than $720,000. Those proceeds benefit the Promise Scholarship Fund, NYU-Poly’s largest scholarship initiative. Since its inception the fund has provided financial support to more than 8,000 students, many of whom are from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, such as African-American, Latino, and female students. Additionally, many are the children of immigrants and the first in their families to attend college. This academic year alone, 60 percent of Poly’s undergraduate students come from families with incomes of less than $50,000 and 58 percent of our undergraduate students—more than 1,000 individuals—received a Promise Fund scholarship thanks to generous supporters.

“I’m happy that we are celebrating our three distinguished honorees in a space as notable as Vanderbilt Hall,” Erica Marks, the interim vice president of development and alumni relations at NYU-Poly, said. “That we are doing so in support of a cause as worthy as the Promise Scholarship Fund just adds luster to the evening.”