Gala Yields Tasty Proceeds for University

Gala Yields Tasty Proceeds for University
A beautiful view of the event site.
Chef Susan Feniger and her team serves tacos during the Southern California Tasting & Auction.
Ron Simons conducts the live auction during the event.

Nearly 550 university friends and alumni attended an unforgettable springtime gala on May 4 in support of education, netting approximately $300,000. Promoted as an adventure of tastes, sights and sounds, Cal Poly Pomonas inaugural Southern California Tasting & Auction did not disappoint any of the senses.

The savory aroma, picturesque setting and lively music set the stage for the universitys fundraising event, which was held in the newly renovated W.K. Kellogg Commemorative Rose Garden and the Aratani Japanese Garden. As guests mingled, they enjoyed the tasting of fine wines and flavorful cuisine from some of the Southlands most popular wineries and restaurants. More than 60 food and wine partners participated by bringing some of their favorite and unique menu items.

Mr. Cal Poly Ron Simons served as auctioneer for the live auction, which featured packages such as an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana show, as well as elaborate dinners and travel get-aways. Hundreds of items were up for bid at the silent auction, including the original painting for the event (by university graphic artist Ani Markarian), autographed sports memorabilia, as well as unique spa and travel packages.

The Collins School of Hospitality Management played a lead role in the tasting segment of the gala by arranging for the involvement of the restaurants and wineries. Earlier in the day, The Collins School held a special reception honoring the legacy of Carl Karcher with the prestigious Robert Mondavi Wine and Food Award for 2008. This annual award honors those with a passionate, lifelong commitment to excellence in the hospitality industry.

Event sponsors included the Childrens Fund of San Bernardino County, Carol and Jim Collins, Eugene Park & Bel-Air Swap-Meet, as well as the Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association, DreamBox Creations, Fairplex, Kellogg Citizenship Fund and Mickey and Lee Segal. More than two dozen additional sponsors generously supported the event.

The large-scale event was staffed by a small army of 400 volunteers, including many students. Proceeds will directly benefit Cal Poly Pomona students with scholarships as well university-wide academic enrichment.

For Web video streaming of the Tasting & Auction, visit