Coppin State University

SCENE & HEARD

Vision Award Celebration

December 02, 2007|By SLOANE BROWN

DINNER AND A SHOW" REACHED new heights at the Lyric Opera House recently, as Coppin State University held its Second Annual Vision Award Celebration there. Hundreds of formally dressed folks gathered on the mezzanine level for a pre-show party before they would head into the theater to see performances by singer Nancy Wilson and comedian Bill Cosby.

Guests browsed the dinner buffet and caught up with old friends. For incoming Coppin president Reginald Avery and his wife, Esther, it meant meeting a lot of new friends.

"This is our first formal event with Coppin State, and we're so excited," said Avery.

"It's wonderful meeting all these people," his wife added.

"It's incredible. We have a wonderful turnout," noted interim president Sadie Gregory.

Some guests had come a fair distance to be there, such as honoree Michael Peay, senior legal adviser for the U.S. Mission to UNESCO. He and his wife, Fatima Peay, had traveled from Paris.

"Coppin is really my real alma mater in the real spiritual sense," Peay said.

Several VIP's had the chance to go backstage to meet Cosby.

"He is what he is: a very special person. Comical, personal and very intellectual," observed honoree James "Winky" Camphor, president of Coppin's National Alumni Association.

"And very nice," said his wife, Florine "Peaches" Camphor.

A DRINK WITH MONYKA BERROCOSA

WINE EXPERT MONYKA BERROcosa, 37 and a Montreal native, is the founder / CEO of MyCity4Her, an online community for women in business. She also founded Women's Wine & Dine, the region's largest women-only wine group, which is throwing the women-only "Be The Star" event tomorrow as a fundraiser for The Giving Spirits Foundation and the Priceless Gown Project. Berrocosa is divorced and lives in Hampden with her 5-year-old son, Alexandre.

Do you ever get tired of talking wine?

Sure. There's not a dinner party where I'm not asked about wine. That's why I'm drinking a martini right now. [She laughs.]

It sounds like you live your life by following your passions.

Yes. I go where the spirit moves me. ... I march to the beat of that different drum, which freaks some people out. But I don't know how to live any other way. Handel's Messiah is playing, and I want to listen to Jimi Hendrix. It's just the way I am.

What else are you passionate about?

Helping the community. I love giving back. I love finding a cause people don't know much about and opening people's eyes to what they're trying to do, and helping them out. And also to opening people's eyes to what they're capable of doing. That's what "Be The Star" is all about. People started to look at me and say, "Wow, what she's doing is great." But the reality is that anybody can do that.

Guilty pleasures?

I love spending an entire Sunday cooking in my pajamas and then giving the food away.

Pet peeves?

People complaining about the schools, health care, and whatever other public problems plague this place, and not caring enough to get involved and change it. It's so easy to criticize. But, get your hands dirty and fix it. It's possible.

ONLINE Read more of the conversation with Monyka Berrocosa at baltimoresun.com / drink

ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of upcoming events and video reports at baltimoresun.com / scene

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