Rhode Island School, IYRS, focuses on history, student accomplishments and raises $700,000 at annual fundraiser
When guests arrived at IYRS Annual Summer Gala--the annual fundraiser for this Rhode Island marine trades and technology school--they came ready for a great party. But the crowd of gala-goers also gathered at this waterfront school for a reason that runs far deeper than a good time through this maritime community: to celebrate the craftsmanship of IYRS students and graduates and ensure continued opportunity for the generation to follow.
The exhibits and film told the story of a school that has evolved since the first students walked through the doors in 1997. IYRS was then a fledgling school with a handful of students; it has matured into a central player in the region’s workforce development with three full-time programs in Boatbuilding & Restoration, Marine Systems and Composites Technology; a fully restored historic Newport campus with a satellite campus in Bristol; and an international cadre of successful grads who have forged careers as craftsmen, skilled technicians and business owners.
The event held at the school’s waterfront campus in Newport, was sponsored by The Hilton Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and the Prestige Family of Fine Cars and themed “Mastering the Craft: Celebrating 15 Years of Excellence.”
Event co-chairs Jamie Hilton of Newport, who also served as a title sponsor, and Pam Rorke Levy of San Francisco, worked with IYRS to orchestrate an evening that gave attendees a deeper understanding of the IYRS mission.
“Our goal this year was to focus on the students and their outcomes,” said Terry Nathan, president of IYRS. “We wanted to zero in on the core value proposition for supporting the school—and there is no better way than to hear students tell their stories, and to hear employers talk about why they hire our graduates.”