That was quite a turnout a couple of weeks ago as Loyola College honored B-more mega-mogul John Paterakis. Some 1,200 folks filled the Renaissance Inner Harbor ballroom for the "2002 Business Leader of the Year Award Dinner." Loyola's Sel-linger School of Business and Management has been throwing the event each year since 1983.
"This was the biggest, best attended, so far," says Sellinger School dean Lee Dahringer, "certainly the most popular we've had to date."
Talk about a room packed with powerful people. There were loads of Maryland politicos and hotshots like Bob Lawless, Bill Jews, Jay Brodie, Hoby Buppert, David Modell, Mike Waller, Steve Geppi, Henry Rosenberg, Tom Koch, Gino Gemignani, Jim Brien, Kurt Schmoke, Cecil Flamer, John Cochran, Chip Mason, Nancy and Lou Grasmick, Roger Gray, Mark Knott, Jim O'Conor, Fred Hudson, Ted Herget and Sister Helen Amos. Get the picture? And that's not all.
"Everybody named Paterakis in the city was there," Lee notes, "There were at least 10 grandchildren there. That was a very moving part of the evening -- the recognition of [his] family. Because family is what John Paterakis is all about."
Of particular pleasure to Lee was that about 50 faculty members and students from Sellinger School were there. He says the students were so excited about getting to sit and chat with some of Baltimore's top leaders.
"A pretty heady thing when you're a 21-year-old," Lee says. A pretty heady thing, as well, for Lee himself, who has been in Baltimore, leading the Sellinger School, for the past year.
"I was impressed both with the widespread respect for John Paterakis and the personal admiration that came across during the evening," he says.
"At the school of business, our goal is to educate leaders of business and leaders of society. And here we had one person who epitomizes both those roles," Lee says, "And what was so wonderful was that so many people came together to reinforce that."
A slightly different kind of star took center stage recently at "Starnight 2002." In the past, the Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation gala has featured a performer.
"Previous Starnights were held to raise money to build our new hospital," says Andrea Simons, who co-chaired the party with Tania Benfield.
"This was the first one held since the hospital opened its doors in 2000," she explains, "so it seemed only natural that the hospital itself was the star."
Andrea says that, instead of a performance, the high point of the evening was a video about the Harford County hospital, which featured the services it provides and included interviews with doctors, nurses and patients.
This was also the first time Starnight was held outside of Bel Air -- at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. That way some of the 620 guests got to spend the night and give themselves a Baltimore weekend getaway.
"It was like old home week for Harford County," Andrea says, "a lot of people came out who hadn't seen each other in several years."
And adding to the excitement? The largest amount of money ever raised for the hospital at a Starnight -- $120,000.
Dec. 9: "Pam Shriver Hometown Hall of Fame Tribute Reception & Auction." Benefits Baltimore Tennis Patrons. Open bar, heavy hors d'oeuvres, live music, mingle with sports celebrities, including Martina Navratilova, former tennis star who now does announcing, and former Oriole Brady Anderson. North Club Lounge, Ravens Stadium, 1101 Russell St. 6:30 p.m. Tickets $75. Call 410-296-2929, Ext. 21.
Dec. 10: "Salute to Chuck Thompson." Benefits the Wilmer Macular Degeneration Center and the International Rett Syndrome Association. Open bar, hors d'oeuvres, seated dinner, mingling with many former Baltimore Orioles and Colts. Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road. 6 p.m. Tickets $80. Call 410-561-0065.
Dec. 12: "Muscle Beach Bash." Benefits Mac's Miracle Fund and Special Olympics Maryland. Beer, wine, heavy hors d'oeuvres, live music, dancing, casino-style games, mingling with several Baltimore Ravens players. Merritt's Downtown Athletic Club, 210 E. Centre St. 7 p.m. Tickets $100. Call 410-332-0906.