Jesuit High School’s 16th annual award-winning fundraising gala, Gaudiosa: An Evening in Paris, was a spectacular, record-smashing success Saturday (Feb. 23) at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
Amidst a gorgeous setting and generous atmosphere of giving created by the 650 Jesuit supporters in attendance, the event set a new record, raising $775,000 for Jesuit’s financial aid program! The evening also featured the announcement of a major capital gift: A $2 million donation by Susan and Ron Antinori ’60 toward Phase II of the school’s Campus Master Plan!
Ron Antinori has a long history of giving to Jesuit. In 2016, a computer lab was named in memory of his parents, Paul and Rosa Antinori. Now, with this transformational $2 million gift, the centerpiece of Phase II will be named in his honor: The Antinori Center for Fine and Performing Arts.
“This gift represents the deep commitment and importance that our alumni have for advancing the arts at Jesuit High School,’’ Jesuit’s Development Director, Nick Suszynski ’98, said. (Click here for a Tampa Bay Business Journal story, and click here for a Tampa Bay Times story.)
As it does every year, Gaudiosa featured a beautiful, St. Ignatius-inspired theme designed by Elvia Rivera, P '14 and Annette Sanchez, P '17, more than 600 guests, and a spirit of support for Jesuit’s financial aid program. With this year’s record-setting total of $775,000 (the previous best was $705,000), Gaudiosa now has raised more than $4.2 million over the past six years – all for Jesuit students with demonstrated financial need.
Leading the way in 2019 were the Grand Gaudiosa Underwriters, who each gave $25,000 to "An Evening in Paris": Lindsey and Pat Carroll '98; Nikki DeBartolo and Sheriff Chad Chronister, P '22; The Hyer Family, P '01; Stacey and Ron Leal, P '09; and Lauren and Christopher Schellman, P '20.
The event showcased sensational live auction items such as vacations to Italy and the British Virgin Islands and a Tampa Bay Lightning experience, more than 300 fabulous silent auction items, delicious dinner, live music, and dancing. The surprise of the night was an impromptu live auction item donated by Sheriff Chronister that generated a bidding frenzy.
Student speaker Loki Fountain ’19 provided the most heartfelt moment of the evening. He spoke about the extraordinary impact Jesuit High School has made on his life, and of his love for the mentors and brotherhood he has experienced at Jesuit – which would not have been possible without financial aid. See below or click here to view the video of Fountain's presentation.
A Latin term meaning “joyous feast,” Gaudiosa has been named the Favorite Fundraising Event in the region four times by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Bringing the entire event together is Jane Younger, named the area’s Favorite Event Planner four times by the TBBJ. Dozens of volunteers work for months in conjunction with Younger to make Gaudiosa an annual success.
The generosity of Gaudiosa’s patrons, sponsors, and guests provides a significant amount of Jesuit’s financial aid. This year, Jesuit is providing $2 million in financial aid to 30% of the student body. In recent years, Gaudiosa also has featured the announcement of transformational capital gifts, such as Antinori’s $2 million Arts Center donation, a $3 million gift in 2016 from Joe Capitano Sr. ’56, Joe Capitano Jr. ’84, and Frank Capitano ’87, and a $2.5 million donation in 2017 by Richard "Steve" Jenkins '75.
Antinori was the founder and CEO of Antinori Software, Inc. (later Carreker-Antinori, Inc.). In 2010 he founded of Rapido, a classical music composition competition, and he has served on the Board of The Atlanta Opera and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Additional major givers to Gaudiosa 2019 include Blue and White Society ($10,000 donation) members Laura and Michael DeLucia, P '05, '08; The Gonzmart Family Foundation; MarineMax/Vicki and Brett McGill '87, P '19, '20, '22; Kyle Langbehn '92/Manny Alvare '94, P '22/Sam Lowrey, P '21/Kyle Vollenweider '80; Lydia and John Oliva '60, P '84; Cherie and Harvey Schonbrun '65, P '03, '10; Dineen and Michael Wasylik '88, P '21; and the Jesuit Community of Tampa.
Save the date for the 17th Gaudiosa: An Evening in the Holy Land, Feb. 22, 2020, as we continue along the journey of St. Ignatius in his founding of the Society of Jesus.
Please see below two photo slideshows from Gaudiosa 2019, as well as the video of student speaker Loki Fountain '19.