L-R: CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales; Donna Fauci, event co-chair; Dr. William Fritz, CSI Provost; honorees Dr. Mary O'Donnell, Rose Volpe, and Dennis Hughes; and Dr. Christine Cea, event co-chair, at the third annual Celestial Ball, Richmond County Country Club. Photo courtesy of the Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo.

CSI students were the beneficiaries last Saturday, as the Third Annual CSI Celestial Ball succeeded in raising more than $500,000 for student scholarships and support.

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A diverse group of nearly 250 people, comprising community and business leaders, students, faculty, staff, friends of the College, and honorees and their family members, attended the event at the Richmond County Country Club. Everyone at the Ball provided crucial support to CSI students, as the scholarships and support made possible by this event provide students with the opportunity to complete their degrees, and gain the confidence and tools that they need to successfully enter the job market and affect positive change in their communities and beyond.

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CSI President Dr. Tomás D. Morales presented the President’s Medal, with the assistance of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. William Fritz, to the Ball honorees who were Denis Hughes (Hon. ’11), President of the New York State AFL-CIO; Dr. Mary O’Donnell, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing; and Mrs. Rose Volpe, community activist, founder of the Friends of CSI, and widow of Dr. Edmond L. Volpe, the first President of the College of Staten Island.

Thirteen CSI scholarship recipients were on hand to show their appreciation for the support that they have received, and to serve as examples of the positive effects of scholarships at the College. In addition, following a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”  from CSI alumna Marissa Pontecorvo ’11, which began the program, attendees were treated to a video featuring other CSI students who received scholarships, who emphasized the critical need for funds that are helping them to stay in College and excel in their chosen fields.

Also, Student Government President Kevin Storberg represented the student body, underscoring the importance of scholarships in his remarks.

This year’s Celestial Ball Chairs, Dr. Christine Cea ’88, New York State Regent representing Staten Island, President of the CSI Foundation and Scientist at the Institute for Basic Research; Donna Fauci ’96, ’03, Member of the Board of Directors of the CSI Alumni Association; and Joseph Ricciutti, Executive Director, University Event Management at Columbia University, graciously volunteered their time and efforts to make this year’s event a success.