On the evening of Saturday, July 7, over 650 supporters gathered for the 21st Annual IYRS Summer Gala, title sponsored for a second straight year by State Street. For the fourth consecutive year, Anne & Matt Hamilton, Barbara van Beuren & Steve Glascock, Kimberly and John Palmer, and Helene & Archie van Beuren served as the Gala co-chairs.
This year’s theme was based on the aspirational phrase, “I’ve always wanted to…”, four words that appear in so many student applications to the school. While many schools offer a path to employment, IYRS according to its graduates, offers transformative and life-changing experiences that lead to life-long careers and a commitment to continued learning.
The school raised approximately $945,000 in revenue and just above $600,000 net cash. Of that, over $235,000 was raised specifically for the general scholarship fund. Many applicants would not be able to attend IYRS without such aid. Last year, 70% of students had some form of aid, including from the federal government, as the school is an accredited institution. The annual party has become something of a Newport phenomenon, attracting people from up and down the entire East Coast. Following a cocktail reception on the school’s historic Newport waterfront campus, guests enjoyed a sit-down dinner catered by Russell Morin, a live auction featuring a trip donated by perennial supporter WIMCO Villas and a painting by the late school co-founder and internationally acclaimed marine artist John Mecray. Christies’ auctioneer Robbie Gordy, then raised a record $235,000 in support of scholarship. “It was an important endorsement of the IYRS learning model,” said IYRS president, Terry Nathan. “With 85%-95% of graduates getting jobs or starting companies, the school is demonstrating the value of its alternative to traditional career education.”
IYRS teaches the art and science of making, building, restoring and maintaining, and in the process, inspires its graduates to work in a broad range of fields – from the marine trades and general manufacturing, to high tech firms like Autodesk, Google X, Goetz Composites and a variety of start-up businesses.
70’s rock and dance stars KC and the Sunshine Band capped off the evening with a live performance, and from the very start the dance floor was filled with fans. Marquee entertainment has become a signature of the IYRS Gala, and this year’s performance was one of the best, according to many attendees.