Founders’ Day 2008: A Divine Evening

Founders’ Day was a blast! Success from beginning to end! This year, Selen Umul, Social Chair, moved the venue to Hart House due to some difficulties with the old venue. When I learnt of the move, I was excited at the opportunity to revisit University of Toronto, and in particular Hart House. Many of us have fond memories of spending time there in between classes, reading or studying.

Selen secured the Music Room for us, but we also had the use of another set of rooms for coat hanging and cocktails. The Silent Auction items were displayed in the room set aside for cocktails. Eleanor MacLean, as usual, greeted Tri Deltas and Tri Psis alike as we came to the top of the stairs on the second floor. This year, in addition to our name tags, we also received a survey to be filled out during the evening. The Executive will use those results to tailor programming more towards our needs.

The Music Room was decked out beautifully, with tables dressed in white, soft glowing candles, and a gold-candle-Christmas-wreath centrepiece. (The person with the gold star under their plate got to take the gold candle and wreath home.) The podium was flanked with large, nicely designed boards telling us about our newest charity. On the far right, Selen had set up a computer projection system, which I used at the end of dinner to demonstrate our website, its features, and member benefits. There’s nothing like a visual demonstration to make people feel comfortable with new technology!

Carly Klassen MC’d the evening. With her rich voice and capable manner, she ably steered the evening along. The only hiccup coming after the appetizer, when the main course was delayed; but that gave many of us a chance to visit the Silent Auction in the next room and update our bids. It was very good for our philanthropy efforts! At the start of the evening, the Philanthropy co-chairs Laura Knapp and Natalie Maniates had introduced our newest charity POGO and explained why they have decided to focus the fund-raising on it. We learnt more from an AOP, who is part of POGO, about all the things that they do. It was quite enlightening, and encouraged many to bid on the Silent Auction I’m sure. We raised over $500!

The dinner began with roasted pumpkin and apple soup with truffle scented sage cream, and oh my, that’s when we knew dinner was going to be a cut above. Supreme of chicken with sweet potato and sunchoke gratin, grilled asparagus and roasted cipollini onions, followed. It looked superb, but I had the vegetarian option: an artful stack of round-cut grilled polenta, layered with earthy mushrooms and al dente zucchini, surrounded by a moat of pizziola sauce in an oval white bowl. Wow!

Although I’m partial to chocolate, the rustic apple tart with vanilla ice cream and Hart House Farm maple syrup was lickable. And unlike the usual bitter coffee and paint-peeling tea of banquets everywhere, we were served just-right coffee and fragrant organic tea of our choice: green or black varieties. I floated out of there on a cloud of divinely blessed taste buds.

As dessert came out, I began the evening speeches with the website virtual tour. Then it was the collegiates’ turn. They were 45 strong Wednesday night, and as they sang Rugged but Right, you could hear their strength. The Tri Psis too came out in record numbers at 13; this year their President was unable to attend and so the mother of Canada Alpha’s President presented the Tri Psi award and then later called out the names of the Tri Psis. It was a proud moment for those of us with mothers in Tri Psi to see mother and daughter up there together. This year, the alumnae chapter broke with tradition and awarded the Dorothy Cody Award to one daughter and one mother: Lynda and Lillian Ciaschini. Lynda gave a moving speech on the benefits of having a mother in Tri Psi, and we hope to publish it here on the website.

As I looked over the packed Music Room, I wondered if we had broken all records for attendance. I know that low RSVP numbers only a couple of weeks before the event had some worried. But never fear, even alumnae broke attendance records this year. All told, over 100 attended Founders’ Day. Thank you to Selen, the Founders’ Day committee, and the Executive for making it an evening to remember!

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