John Jay Gala Honors Lin-Manuel Miranda, Peter Beshar and the Tow Foundation
New York, NY, May 25, 2016 – The annual Educating for Justice gala sponsored by the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees raised over $800,000 gross – a record amount – and drew 325 friends and supporters of the College. Proceeds from the gala will support scholarships and programs that help students achieve their academic and career goals.
Held on May 23rd at The Plaza Hotel, the event’s honorees were Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of the Broadway hit Hamilton; Peter J. Beshar, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Marsh & McLennan and member of the John Jay College Foundation’s Board of Trustees; and the Tow Foundation. The special evening also featured a tribute in honor of Rossana Rosado, a trustee of the John Jay College Foundation and a Distinguished Lecturer in Latin American/Latina/o Studies, who was recently appointed as New York’s next Secretary of State.
“Our honorees were spectacular and demonstrated their commitment to justice – juvenile justice for the Tow Foundation; justice for veterans and protection from cyber-attacks for Peter Beshar; advocacy on behalf of Latinos and prisoner reentry for Rossana Rosado, and of course the magical mix of history, music and culture of Lin-Manuel Miranda who simply calls out the best in us,” said Jeremy Travis, President of John Jay College. “In so many ways, our honorees allowed us to reaffirm our core mission of educating for justice.”
The College also announced the launch of a $75 million campaign, co-chaired by John Jay College Foundation Trustees Arthur Mirante and LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson. Impressively, $35 million in grants and pledges have already been received. The John Jay 2020 Campaign will be focused on supporting student success, to ensure that students are able to overcome adversity, shatter expectations, and strive for more.
Joining the Gala festivities were prominent guests and civic leaders such as New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Maria Cuomo Cole, Kenneth Cole, Soledad O’Brien, New York City Veterans Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, former Attorney General Oliver Koppel, Probation Commissioner Ana Bermudez, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter and CUNY Chancellor James Milliken.
In addition to the gala award presentations, journalist Soledad O’Brien auctioned off two tickets for Hamilton, raising $11,000 in support of student scholarships. She also interviewed honoree Lin-Manuel Miranda on stage. Miranda, recent winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, Grammy Award, and Pulitzer Prize, discussed his inspiration for Hamilton as well as why it was important for him to figure out a way for students to have access to this sold-out show.
“I was lucky enough to see Rent on my 17th birthday and it gave me permission to write musicals. I loved musicals, but I just thought it was written for other people by other people,” explained Miranda. “The musicals I grew up with took place in far off countries in far off times -- Camelot, Les Mis, Phantom, Man of La Mancha -- and here was this musical that took place in the Village, now. It was all the stuff I knew I was going to be wrestling with if I chose to pursue a life in this world and it was about that. And it was as multicultural a cast as I've ever seen. It was this sort of sea of humanity and they looked like residents of an A train from 59th street to 125th street. That changed my life.”
Miranda and the producers of Hamilton are helping to improve history education through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. The initiative will enable 20,000 underprivileged New York City high school students to see the show.
Click here to view the thank-you message to all donors and supporters of the John Jay Gala.
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.