Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) and the BMCC Foundation will host the 2018 Gala, Invest in a Future: Empower Success, on Tuesday, May 15 at Cipriani, 25 Broadway in lower Manhattan. Cocktails are at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program starting at 7 p.m.
The 2018 Gala Honorees are long-time friend of the College, Loretta Lee, Chairwoman of Merchant House International Ltd., and Chieh Huang, Chief Executive Officer of Boxed Wholesale/Boxed.com.
This year’s Special Guest Star Honoree is Liev Schreiber, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor, producer and director.
“Each year, proceeds from the Gala provide scholarships to hundreds of hard-working students who demonstrate their courage and commitment to education in the face of many obstacles,” said Doris Holz, Vice President of Development and Chief Operating Officer of the BMCC Foundation. “Students who are awarded scholarships are nearly four times more likely to graduate within three years, than comparable non-recipients. Not only that, graduation rates for students who receive scholarships are close to 85 percent, compared with about 45 to 60 percent for their peers who did not receive that support.”
This underscores the importance of events like the annual Gala, Holz says, “and the generosity of our corporate and individual donors. We are hoping to increase the amount raised this year, so that we can provide more scholarships for qualified students and increase their graduation rates as well.”
Loretta Lee, Gala Honoree
Merchant House International Ltd. Chairwoman Loretta Lee founded her first company, Loretta Lee Limited, in 1978. Initially trading textiles and footwear, the company shifted to manufacturing and by 1996, Lee’s company had assumed full ownership of a Chinese government factory in Guangdong Province. Called the Carsan Factory, it remains a leader in the export of seasonal kitchen textiles and table linens.
In May 2014, Lee took the bold step of bringing manufacturing back to the United States, first by opening a shoe factory in Jefferson City, Tennessee and more recently by purchasing a site for a future textile plant in Bristol, Virginia.
Lee, who remains active in company management, emphasizes worker training, basic education and social responsibility. Her emphasis on education led her to pioneer an intern exchange program designed to bring students to the Carsan Factory in China to learn manufacturing first-hand, and expose students to Chinese culture and history. She later expanded the program to include students from BMCC. She strongly supports the concept of community colleges, and their ability to train a more responsible and a more skilled student body, ready to smoothly enter and contribute to the business world.
Chieh Huang, Gala Honoree
Chieh Huang took his New York City-based, online wholesale shopping club, Boxed Wholesale/Boxed.com from startup phase in 2013 to one of the most dynamic companies in the United States.
Forbes Magazine recently named Boxed one of the next “billion dollar startups.” The company has raised over $150 million in funding, and is known for its generous employee perks. Huang's personal honors include being named in 2016 to Goldman Sachs’ list of 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and in 2017, being named to both the National Retail Federation’s list, “People Shaping Retails Future” (2017) and Crain’s “40 Under 40.” Under Huang’s guidance, Boxed was named the Emerging e-Retailer of the Year by Internet Retailer in 2016.
A passionate advocate for education, Huang has been invited to participate in various meetings at The White House to discuss ways his company has supported the education of its workers. In 2015, Huang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, announced he would be personally paying for the college tuition of all of his employees' children.
Liev Schreiber, Special Guest Star Honoree
Heralded as “the finest American theater actor of his generation” by the New York Times, Liev Schreiber has won five Golden Globe Award nominations and three Primetimes Emmy nominations for his starring title role in Ray Donovan, Showtime’s powerful family drama.
Schreiber’s work has also earned him praise in film, theater and television. His portrayal of Orson Welles in Benjamin Ross' RKO 281 brought Schreiber Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award nominations. His other telefilm credits include George C. Wolfe's Lackawanna Blues and John Erman's The Sunshine Boys. In 2010, Schreiber received his third Tony® nomination for his role in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, alongside Scarlett Johansson. His performance as Ricky Roma in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross earned him his first Tony Award. He was again a Tony nominee for his portrayal of Barry Champlain in the 2007 Broadway revival Talk Radio.
Emcee Baruch Shemtov of Fox 5 News
Baruch Shemtov joined Fox 5 News in 2015, bringing with him the experience of having interviewed political leaders and cultural figures including Senator John McCain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Secretary Madeleine Albright, Kristen Stewart, James Franco, Spike Lee and many others.
A 2009 graduate of Harvard College, Shemtov was named one of the “15 Most Interesting Seniors” by The Harvard Crimson. He served as a researcher for CNN’s David Gergen, leading him to become a Special Correspondent on Extra and the New York Host on Young Hollywood.
Shemtov has been active in the fields of design and fashion, having launched a line of ties at age 15, garnering press in The New York Times, The Times of London, New York Magazine and other publications. Committed to public service, he has hosted the TEDx Youth Conference in New York and was appointed to the Advisory Board at the Harvard Kennedy School Taubman Center for State and Local Government.
For more information on the BMCC Foundation 2018 Gala, Invest in a Future: Empower Success, to purchase a ticket or reserve a table, please contact Camille Goodridge in the BMCC Office of Development at (212) 220-8020.