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Vital Signs

Aviation-themed gala gets capital campaign off the ground in style

Ladies and gentleman, we will begin boarding in a moment," said a voice over a loudspeaker—an appropriate announcement to any passengers at any airport. But these weren't just any passengers; they were party guests in tuxedos and ball gowns. And this wasn't just any airport; it was a private hangar in Lebanon that had been transformed into an elegant banquet hall, complete with crystal chandeliers.

Garb: The "passengers" were guests at a black-tie fund-raising gala to celebrate the Transforming Medicine Campaign (see here for a related story). As they arrived, the 500 guests were greeted by "stewardesses" in vintage garb and serenaded by barbershop and doo-wop quartets. Then they sipped on cocktails; chatted with actors dressed as aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright; bid on silent auction items; and admired antique aircraft. "This is a fabulous event," said Dr. Ira Byock, director of DHMC's Palliative Medicine Program. "It's unique . . . a little history and a great deal of fun. It's amazing to see everybody here supporting this remarkable effort. And we are indeed here to transform medicine."

During dinner, historical images of DMS and DHMC flashed on giant screens, while swing dancers jived and bands played. Later, a voice announced, "We are about to begin our in-flight movie." After a short film celebrating institutional successes, there were brief remarks by emcee Susan Dentzer, DC '77, health correspondent for PBS's NewsHour, a DHMC Trustee, and a DMS Overseer; campaign cochair Dr. Peter Williamson, DC '58 and a DHMC neurologist; and retired NBC correspondent Bob Hager, DC '60. Hager spoke of ways that Dartmouth medical pioneers are transforming medicine, just as the Wright brothers transformed flying.

Memorable: Finally, as everyone departed, they stopped at "Baggage Claim" to pick up mini-suitcases filled with mementos of a memorable evening.

Laura Stephenson Carter

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