Proceeds of ‘Passport to the Future’ gala double from last year

Saddleback College President Tod Burnett, Saddleback Scholar Anthony Ferry and Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors President Jim Leach honor Ferry for Alumnus of the Year at the 'Passport to the Future' gala on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Kimberly Johnston)

Saddleback College President Tod Burnett, Saddleback Scholar Anthony Ferry and Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors President Jim Leach honor Ferry for Alumnus of the Year at the ‘Passport to the Future’ gala on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Kimberly Johnston)

President Tod Burnett deems ‘Passport to the Future’ to be Saddleback College Foundation’s (SCF) “most successful” gala at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott last Saturday night.

Last year almost $510,000 had been donated to scholarships, according to SCF’s website.

“The net proceeds doubled from last year,” Burnett said.

Associated Student Government President Bahman Sabahi donated an estimated $3000 Heris wool rug to the live auction.

Heris, area in northwest Iran, rests on a major deposit of copper. Sheeps ingest trace amounts of copper via drinking water, producing strong and durable wool. The rugs are known to last throughout multiple generations.

Sabahi didn’t always take his education seriously. He believes that Saddleback was his turning point.

“I realized the more I was willing to give to the school, the more it was willing to give to me,” said Sabahi.

The auction also comprised of prize pieces like Justin Vineyard wine bottles (estimated value $840), a week in a four-bedroom Lake Arrowhead home (estimated value $3000) and a two-day trip to San Francisco Bay (estimated value $2,050).

Another (silent) auction remained open until yesterday evening. Highest bids won vacation stays in Rosarito Beach and Lake Tahoe. Other items included botox/restylane injections, pilates classes, tennis lessons, water sport rentals, golf course outings, In-N-Out and ‘Taste of RSM’ packages.

“Our goal is to raise money so that more people can afford to go to school,” said Jim Leach, President of Saddleback College Foundation Board of Governors.

Saddleback Scholar Anthony Ferry accepted Alumnus of the Year. Ferry transferred to Cal State Fullerton where he completed his bachelor’s degree.

“Saddleback allowed me to establish my bearings,” Ferry said. “Some people think choosing Saddleback is safe, but I say it’s smart.”

Ferry worked closely with companies like Taco Bell and Microsoft as a vice president consultant. Subsequently, he co-founded Neudesic, where he fulfills the role of Executive Vice President.

The self-proclaimed “gadget geek” sponsored the gala with a combined $6,250 between himself and Neudesic.

“I want to make our world a better place through technology,” Ferry said. “Having my own business afforded me opportunities to give back.”

Contributed by Don Greenspan, the Julienne Callahan Greenspan Endowment for the Arts grants scholarships to the journalism and art programs at Saddleback.

The endowment celebrates the life of Greenspan’s late wife, Julienne, who passed away last year. Julienne became editor of the campus literary magazine in 1984. The magazine won 19 awards that year.

“The idea of this scholarship is to find someone who is about to give up and instead have them do something wonderful,” said Greenspan.

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