By Bijan White
“It is one thing to tell someone to follow their dreams and a fundamentally different thing to empower them to do so,” said Ramsey Jay, Riordan Fellow (’02) and 2015 recipient of the Riordan Program’s Excellence in Civil Engagement and Leadership Award. The Riordan Programs at Anderson, established in 1987, provide training in leadership to diverse groups of individuals all over the country. Through mentorship, workshops and community service, the program works to guide the leaders of tomorrow.
The annual Riordan Gala celebrated the program’s 28th anniversary, bringing together Riordan Scholars and alumni to honor the program’s commitment to empowering inner-city youth. Hosted at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the gala entailed a night of musical performances, presentations by members of the program, a silent auction, and an abundance of food and laughter.
“Tonight is about community. The Riordan Program are a beacon of light for all students who strive to attend college and earn their degrees,” said Kimberly Freeman (’02), Anderson’s assistant dean for diversity initiatives and community relations. The sense of community was palpable as alumni from years past crowded the grand ballroom, speaking excitedly over the band. “I am proud to be part of the Anderson family,” said Alex Lawrence (’99), assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid and former executive director of the Riordan Programs, “because it is a family. We are there for the good and for the bad.”