Slane College Hollywood Alums Converge on Sunset Boulevard with President Glasser

July 1, 2010

CELEBRATION OF BRADLEY HITS THE SUNSET STRIP President Glasser shares Bradley Renaissance with BU's Los Angeles community By Nicholas Thurkettle On the world-famous Sunset Boulevard, outside the headquarters of the Directors Guild of America, a tour bus driver played a prank on his passengers. Pointing to a Mercedes convertible stopped near them at a red light, he announced: "Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Eddie Murphy!" The Mercedes driver, though not the movie star, waved genially at the curious tourists suddenly craning for a view of him. But inside the DGA's elegant vaulted lobby, it was Bradley University President Joanne Glasser receiving the celebrity treatment; shaking hands and posing for pictures as gown-ed and tuxedo-ed guests arrived for a "Celebration of Bradley". Over cocktails and hors d' oeuvres, students, alumni, friends, and family representing seven decades of University history mingled and shared memories, while Dr. Todd Kelly and his Bradley Jazz Ensemble provided the energetic musical backdrop. The combo briefly featured an unexpected extra member - Doug Frank, President of Music Operations for Warner Brothers Pictures, former Bradley commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, energetically took over the piano for one number and earned loud applause. The crowd then assembled in one of the DGA's handsome, state-of-the-act screening theatres, where President Glasser took to the podium to share the story of Bradley's Renaissance. She spoke proudly of the thriving Bradley community in Los Angeles - the most active in the country after Chicago and St. Louis. She invited the audience to share in Bradley's "audacious dreams", and during both her address and an animated speech by Slane College Dean Dr. Jeffrey Huberman, the theatre screen displayed recorded greetings from past University Presidents Dr. Abegg and Dr. Brazil, and vivid images of Bradley life past, present, and future. Among the multitude of campus construction projects described were the renovation and expansion of historic Westlake Hall, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center and Alumni Quad, the first-of-its-kind Engineering and Business Convergence Center, and the already-opened and wildly-popular Markin Family Student Recreational Center. The Campaign for Bradley's Renaissance set out a fundraising goal of $150 Million to help Bradley become a University of "national distinction", and the audience was impressed to learn that the Campaign has already succeeded in raising $123 Million towards that goal. During the presentation, Amanda Voirol ('10), a Political Science Major and national award-winning member of Bradley's speech team took to the stage live and delivered an impassioned monologue in the persona of Hollywood legend Judy Garland, less than ten miles from where the real Garland filmed The Wizard of Oz seventy years ago this year. Fittingly, the custom cocktail served for the evening was called "The Ruby Slipper". President Glasser closed by declaring "I believe in Bradley, and I believe in you"; and the crowd returned to the DGA's Atrium and Patio, where they enjoyed coffee, dessert, a warm evening under the palm trees of Hollywood, and conversation charged with memories and possibilities. ***