GALA GUESTS packed into Restoration Hall on the IYRS campus during the Annual Summer Gala, to enjoy cocktails amidst examples of students' boat- restoration work. The Gala drew over 600 people to the school for an evening of cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions, and entertainment by Jimmy Buffett and his band. This was the 16th gala held by IYRS.
By Patricia Daddona
NEWPORT — Supporters for International Yacht Restoration School, which teaches boat-building and restoration, raised $885,000 on July 6 at the school’s annual summer gala.
More than 600 guests sampled cocktails inside Restoration Hall, surrounded by examples of student craftsmanship, had dinner under a white tent and enjoyed live music by Jimmy Buffett and his band.
IYRS is a marine trades and technology school that trains individuals for careers in the marine and composites industries and fields that utilize wood- and composites-building technology.
Sponsored by Fidelity Investments and Jaguar, the gala raised money that, in part, will be put toward technology and equipment purchases to the keep students at the forefront of their rapidly evolving field.
“More than 85 percent of our graduates are employed on or about the time they complete their programs,” said IYRS President Terry Nathan. “At a time when the conversation in America is about training more people to make and build things, an IYRS education is preparing people for life-long careers of working and thinking through their hands.”
As co-chairpersons, longtime supporters Earl and Elizabeth McMillen of McMillen Yachts helped orchestrate the event.
“IYRS has supported our yacht restoration business with capable, bright and motivated shipwrights,” said Earl McMillen. “It is an educational institution which gives its students the ability to follow their dreams and pursue a career that satisfies them on all levels.”
The evening included both a live auction during the sit-down dinner and a silent auction. Senior Auctioneer C. Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s—who has conducted some of the auction house’s most prestigious sales, including those of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor—conducted the live auction. The top-earning auction item was a painting by maritime artist John Mecray of the 1885 schooner yacht Coronet, which is now being restored on the IYRS campus.
Guests were also enthusiastic bidders in a reverse auction for Equipment, Tools & Technology, ensuring that students continue to have access to the state-of-the art equipment that is critical to their training.
Other sponsors included the Argo Group, Bacardi, BankNewport, Boat International, Condé Nast Publications, Pamela & Andrew Constantine, Bob Eichler, Friendship Yacht Company, Hess Corporation, The Hinckley Company, The Hilton Group at UBS, Dan MacDonald and Three Golden Apples, McMillen Yachts, Newport Harbor Corporation, Coronet Restoration Partners, Tradewinds Aviation, Vareika Fine Arts, Whitehawk LLC, and Wimco Private Villas.