Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SCENE: Tom Brokaw at Roper Donor Appreciation Gala

Posted by Erica Jackson on Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 1:27 PM

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More than 860 members of the Roper Xavier Society were transported to Morocco circa 1940 at the fourth annual Donor Appreciation Gala Saturday night at Charleston Place. Complete with silk organza mosquito netting, linen-covered tents, and splashes of orange and magenta, the Casablanca-themed affair demonstrated Roper St. Francis’ deep appreciation for the philanthropists who helped raised $19 million over the past year and a total of $48 million to date for the privately-funded hospital. Following a lively reception and a lavish dinner of Moroccan inspired dishes, attendees were honored with a presentation from the guest of honor, legendary journalist Tom Brokaw. Brokaw presented “An Anchorman’s Look at the World” to the packed ballroom that remained in utter silence for nearly an hour. Guests hung on nearly every word from Brokaw’s discussion, which ranged from being the sole American journalist to cover the fall of the Berlin Wall to his interest in health care stemming from the eight doctors in his own family. He spoke about the range of emotions he experienced while watching the country react to the work and assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. “In Bobby’s speech after the death of Martin Luther King, he mentioned he knows the meaning of grief. Two months later he was killed,” Brokaw said. “But [the country] managed to pull ourselves together again. We are always at our best when we are at our weakest states.” In his concluding remarks, Brokaw reaffirmed his belief in the strength of the American people although we are facing difficult times. “We have to get through a very daunting task. I have no idea if President Obama will be able to pull this off,” he said. “It will take the best efforts of everybody.”—Cara Kelly

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