HACKENSACK, N.J. — Close to 1,200 hospital dignities, doctors and supporters packed the new Whitney Museum Saturday night for the Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation’s 2015 Recognition Gala.
“Our annual donor recognition night celebrates those who have given to Hackensack University Health Network and to expose others to the great work our team is doing,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO and President of HackensackUHN, told Daily Voice.
“This event supports some of our wonderful and exciting new initiatives,” Jon Fitzgerald, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of HUMC Foundation, told Daily Voice, noting the black-tie event raised more than $2 million.
A highlight of the foundation’s new programs is a partnership with Seton Hall University to open New Jersey’s first private medical school. Announced earlier this year, the plan calls for a four-year medical school at the former Hoffmann-La Roche campus in Clifton and Nutley, expected to open in 2017.
“By 2020, there will be an anticipated 1,500 to 2,500 vacancies of medical doctors statewide,” Fitzgerald explained. “The new medical school will help meet this crucial need."
The night featured an array of food stations including NYC hotspots Blue Smoke and Haru Sushi, a variety of musical acts, and entertainment including arial Cirque performers, live trees, a magician and comedians.
It was the first Saturday night gala held at the new Whitney Museum in lower Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and the first hospital gala held there.
“We like to be first with everything,” said Mark Schlesinger, M.D., chairman, Department of Anesthesiology and chairman, Special Events, HackensackUMC Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Galas are a statement of who we are and who we hope to attract,” said Dr. Schlesinger, who has been with HackensackUMC for three decades and organizing galas for two of them. Past venues included Meadowlands Stadium, Yankees Stadium, the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, MoMA, Radio City Music Hall and Ellis Island.
“Yes, its a fundraiser and a great party,” he said, “but more importantly, these events help get the word out about all the great things the foundation does.”
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