Ninth Annual Celestial Ball, an Opportunity to Ascend

A tireless volunteer, a leader who has transformed academics, and two cherished institutions - the Staten Island Advance and the Staten Island Performing Provider System - are the honorees of the College of Staten Island Foundation's Ninth Annual Celestial Ball, the Foundation has announced.

The College of Staten Island Foundation’s Ninth Annual Celestial Ball will be held at the Richmond County Country Club on Saturday, December 1. The cocktail reception will begin at 6:30pm, followed by dinner, dancing, and dessert. Buy your ticket today!

Since arriving to Staten Island four years ago, Oswaldo Peña has devotedly guided and supported a variety of initiatives across the borough. Peña's contributions to Foundation events (among other organizations') have helped the Foundation achieve important milestones.

"Anytime there is a way I can contribute to the community, where I can provide support, it's very satisfying to apply my knowledge," Peña said. "I feel honored and blessed to be recognized."

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Gary W. Reichard is also an honoree at this year's Celestial Ball. He has been credited with transforming the College of Staten Island's academic culture, not least by driving the recruitment of outstanding faculty, particularly deans. During a distinguished career Dr. Reichard served in a succession of leadership positions In the California State University system, including Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and then Provost at Cal State Long Beach, and finally as Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer for the 23-campus CSU system. 

Dr. Reichard is an accomplished political historian and the author of numerous books and journal articles, including Politics as Usual: The Age of Truman and Eisenhower (1988; revised ed., 2004), and, most recently, Deadlock and Disillusionment: American Politics since 1968 (2016). Dr. Reichard holds a BA from the College of Wooster, an MA from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in History from Cornell University.

Established in 1886, the Staten Island Advance is the only major newspaper in the Borough and remains a vital part of residents' daily lives. It was one of the first newspapers acquired by Samuel Irving Newhouse, Sr.; the Newhouse family eventually owned a number of exceptional news outlets across the U.S. For the College of Staten Island, the Advance is of particular importance: the newspaper was the first to report on the horrific conditions at the Willowbrook State School, the site of the College's campus today. The reportage led to significant reforms in the administration of care for people with disabilities, which is the primary impetus for the honor bestowed this year by the Foundation.

The College's commitment to the economic growth and development of the borough is expressed in many ways, but none perhaps as important as the role played by the Staten Island Performing Provider System, which is also being honored by the Foundation. The SIPPS's workforce development activities have impacted the lives of many borough residents by creating employment opportunities that transform lives.

The Celestial Ball is the only annual event to raise much-needed funds to benefit all aspects of the College—from support for students and faculty through program enhancements to infrastructure improvements. Although the College of Staten Island is a publicly funded institution, those state funds continue to be greatly reduced as a result of the current difficult economic times. Therefore, private funding becomes a critical component to not only compensate for that increasing deficit, but also to ensure that the College is able to continue to provide exceptional academic opportunities that have garnered increasing national and regional attention.

This year’s Committee Chair is Marilyn Caselli, Senior Vice President for Customer Operations, Consolidated Edison, Inc., and a member of the CSI Foundation Board of Directors.

For more information on attending the Celestial Ball or supporting the event through a contribution or ad in the Ball’s journal, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at 718.982.2365.