Louise Caldwell is an old pro when it comes to preparing for a fundraiser. On Thursday, November 1, she proved that as guests started arriving at The Fairmont Dallas for the Dallas Historical Society’s 2018 Awards for Excellence in Community Service Luncheon.
Earlier in the day some called with a last minute request for a table. No problem. Louise had a table in reserve just in case.
But before the hundreds gathered in the Regency Ballroom, the VIPs gathered for coffee and pastries in The Venetian Room. While new DHS Executive Director Karl Chiao received congratulations from the guests on his new role, the 2018 recipients (Zenetta Drew for Arts Leadership, Katherine Wagner for Business, Liz Mikel for Creative Arts, Yasmin Bhatia for Education Administration, The Links Inc. Dallas Chapter’s Program Director Jocelyn Kidd for Education Advocate, Jonathan Cohen and Helen Hobbs for Health/Science, Dian Malouf for History, The Dallas Institute’s Cowan Center for Education’s Claudia MacMillan for Humanities, Betty Regard for Philanthropy, Nancy Lieberman for Sports Leadership, Regen Horchow Fearon for Volunteer Community Leadership and Tom Dunning for Jubilee History Maker) arrived just minutes after the reception began. They had been upstairs in the ballroom for a group photo.
In the crowd were Luncheon Co-Chairs Laurie and Phil Evans, past Excellence awardees (Honorary Luncheon Co-Chairs) Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Hobson Wildenthal, Dolores Barzune, Ruben Esquivel, Gail Thomas, Patricia Meadows, Mary Jalonick, Larry Allums, Lindalyn Adams, DHS President Veletta Lill, DHS Chair Mary Suhm and DHS Trustees Nathan Crow, Joan Walne and past Board Chair Bill Helmbrecht.
Looking at Sports Leadership Nancy Lieberman talking with former Dallas Maverick Rolando Blackman, Trustee Kit Sawers recalled how the Sports Leadership started the year that she and husband Kemp Sawers co-chaired the luncheon in 2015 when Tim Brown was the first sports recipient. He was followed by Michael Johnson (2016) and Tony Dorsett (2017).
Some like Christina Durovich and Caren Kline were on their second day of lunch fundraising after attending The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations the day before.
Upstairs in the Regency Ballroom lobby, guests checked out portraits by Holt Haynsworth of the awards, as well as previous memorabilia from the Dallas Historical Society including Col. James Fannin’s pocket watch, a 180ss Bowie knife, Gen. Santa Anna’s spurs, a Philadelphia Armory derringer “captured from a Mexican soldier at the Battle of San Jacinto. Reportedly taken from David Crockett at the battle of the Alamo.”
Once emcee Stewart Thomas got the guests settled down in their place, he announced that they were going to make history. He then asked how many people had ridden a scooter to the luncheon. Only one hand was raised. It belonged to Nancy Lieberman. As her hand lowered, a table mate raised his only to sheepishly lower his. Stewart announced that he guessed they were going to make history after all.
Ah, but history was indeed made when Nancy closed her acceptance speech by announcing she was going to take a selfie of herself from the stage with the crowd. It was a first for the event with Stewart announcing that history was indeed made.
Each of the acceptance speeches were remarkable with Jubilee recipient Tom Dunning pointing out the “the importance of having a Dallas Historical Society is meaningful to our future.” He told of little known moments in North Texas history like
- the fact that Doc Holiday was a dentist in Dallas and hung out over on Scyene Road in the 1800s, in the same area where Belle “The Lady Bandit” Starr‘s family had a small farm.
- SMU started out as a medical school. “All you had to do to get in was to have graduated from high school and be in good standing.” Eventually the Methodist leadership decided that the area needed an arts school, so it became the school we know today.
- As for the medical school, it moved down to Gaston Avenue and became known as Baylor College of Medicine. But in the early 1940s, the medical school “was stolen and taken to Houston.” Dallas city fathers decided to start their own medical school in 1943 on Maple Avenue in an old army barrack that “was hotter than hell in the summer and freezing in the winter. Occasionally a student would fall through the floor. That school became known as UT Southwestern Medical Center.”
He closed by encouraging all to venture to the Hall of State to check out of collection of historical memorabilia and to take advantage of the various brown bag lunches and activities sponsored by the Dallas Historical Society.
While some dashed off the door, they missed out on the annual A.C. Greene champagne toast honoring native Dallasites, longtime newcomers and those who just arrived.
For more photos of the awardees and guests, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.