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Back to News Mount Announces 2023 Scholarship Tribute Dinner

Mount Announces 2023 Scholarship Tribute Dinner


Annual Fundraising Gala Set to Return this May—at a Brand-New Location

The University of Mount Saint Vincent is thrilled to announce that the Scholarship Tribute Dinner—its signature fundraising event—will return once again this year.

The Dinner, which will bring together industry leaders in business, government, healthcare, social services, and—this year—theatre production, is slated to take place on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at Gotham Hall in Manhattan.

The biggest night of the year for the Mount community, the gala directly supports life-altering scholarships and financial aid awards, providing our students with the best academic and co-curricular opportunities available.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available now. Can’t make it, but still want to support our students? Make a donation to the Dinner.

Mount Saint Vincent is honored to be celebrating its Dodransbicentennial—or 175th Anniversary—this year. Since it’s founding as the Academy in 1847, the Mount has sought to expand educational opportunity to all students—regardless of financial means. To this day, the College continues to serve a diverse population of students who make every effort to earn a degree, often juggling work, family commitments, and other hardships among their studies.

Nearly half of all Mount students are among the first generation of their families to pursue a higher education—and that has not changed over our rich 175-year history. The Scholarship Tribute Dinner allows the College to both recognize the generosity of scholarship donors and maintain our commitment to serving each and every student to walk through our campus gates.

This year, we’re pleased to announce three incredible honorees who serve as remarkable stewards of the College’s mission: John Prufeta, Fran Weissler, and, our founders, the Sisters of Charity of New York.

The story of the Sisters of Charity of New York began with the story of Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. In 1809, she founded the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland as a widowed convert to Catholicism—150 years after Saints Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac inspired a mission of service to the poor in France. It was the first community for religious women established in the United States.

In 1817, Mother Seton sent a group of three sisters to establish an orphanage in New York City at the corner of Prince and Mott Streets. Knowing that children need not only care, but also education in order to thrive, the Sisters began founding schools—beginning at Mott Street and eventually spreading across the diocese. This was the beginning of the parochial school system in New York. In 1846, the Sisters of Charity of New York became a congregation separate from the Emmitsburg branch.

One year later, before there were public colleges or even high schools for women in New York, they founded the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent—the first institution to offer higher learning for women in New York. The Academy was located at McGowan’s Pass at the northeast corner of what is now Central Park. In 1859, the Academy moved to Riverdale, establishing the Mount Saint Vincent campus overlooking the Hudson River.

The Congregation’s early focus on caring for orphans and educating children has expanded into practically every area of charity and social justice: healthcare; service to families, the homeless, immigrants, and senior citizens; education at all levels; pastoral ministry; advocacy for civil rights, peace, food, and water security; among many others. Sisters of Charity of New York served the people of The Bahamas from 1889 to 2007, and their missions in Guatemala since 1971 continue to thrive.

Now in their third century of service, the Sisters of Charity of New York continue to meet the challenges of the times and minister to the needs of those living in poverty.

John Prufeta is General Partner and Founder of Medical Excellence Capital, LLC (MEC)—an early-stage life sciences venture capital company focused on gene therapy, cell therapy, healthcare AI, quantum biology, and regenerative medicine.

A notable entrepreneur and innovator, John has had a remarkable impact throughout the healthcare industry, spending the past 30 years as an operator and consultant to academic medical centers internationally.

Through MEC investments, John serves as Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of Rejuvitas, Inc., a gene therapy company, and Co-Founder and Director of ProJenX, a company that has developed advanced treatment for ALS. In addition, John serves as Director of Nobias, Inc., an AI/machine learning company focused on rare children’s diseases.

In 2007, John founded and currently serves as Non-Executive Chairman of Medical Excellence Group, a global private health advisory firm with offices in New York, London, and Shanghai. The company is a virtual “family office for healthcare,” offering comprehensive, state-of-the-art science programs in preventative medicine, complex case management, and longevity using a network of 33 academic medical centers and over 1,250 carefully selected physicians.

He has several charitable interests, including as founding board member and current Vice Chairman of Veterans Moving Forward, a 501(c)(3) charity serving disabled veterans. John founded and is Chairman of The Medical Excellence Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides direct grants to scientists—funding cutting-edge experiments to advance medical discovery.

John is dedicated to the success of aspiring young people around the nation, especially at the Mount. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the remarkably influential Advisory Council of the College’s newly-established Center for Leadership—created to provide intentional leadership opportunities for Mount students and strengthen in them an understanding of how to manifest the best of themselves as engaged members of their communities.

He is a graduate of St. John’s University and Harvard Business School.

In 1968, Fran Weissler, along with her husband and partner, Barry, established National Artists Management Company, Inc. (NAMCO), an entertainment production company based in New York City, to present classic plays to children, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and adult audiences with professional casts.

A trailblazing leader in the theatre industry, Fran has nearly 50 years of experience developing, financing, casting, managing, marketing, licensing, and consulting for first-class theatrical ventures on Broadway and the West End in London, as well as both domestic and international touring productions.

Fran and Barry are the winners of seven Tony Awards: for Othello, the Weissler’s Broadway debut starring James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer; Fiddler on the Roof with Chaim Topol; Gypsy with Tyne Daly; Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire; the worldwide hit, Chicago; the 2010 revival of La Cage Aux Folles with Kelsey Grammer; and the 2013 revival of Pippin starring Patina Miller and Andrea Martin.

Chicago—which has been running continuously on Broadway for 26 years—is the longest-running American musical in the world. The show’s global success has reached over 25 countries and has been translated into a dozen languages.

The Weisser’s latest hit, Waitress—a musical adaptation of Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 independent film favorite, with an original score by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Sara Bareilles—is currently available for licensing.

Fran’s current producing projects include the revival of the beloved musical Carnival; a new show entitled Real Women Have Curves; and The Bedwetter, which has book and lyrics by Sarah Silverman.

We are delighted to recognize the Sisters, John, and Fran—three wonderful honorees whose lives of achievement and service reflect a profound dedication to their principles, as illustrated by the values of the College.

Help make this year’s Scholarship Tribute Dinner a success! We hope to see you on May 3!

All proceeds raised at the gala directly support scholarships for talented and deserving students at the Right Place on the River. To find more information on this year’s Dinner, our honorees, and to review ticket and sponsorship opportunities, please click here.

About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.