American Celebration Performers
American Celebration 2013

»Gala Night

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Chapman University's American Celebration is an Orange County tradition and one of Southern California’s most highly anticipated events! This not-to-be-missed extravaganza is produced by Chapman University with vital support from Orange County’s most committed philanthropists and volunteers. In total, American Celebration has raised more than $20 million to provide scholarships to Chapman’s best and most deserving students.

Now in its 32nd year, this night of dazzling entertainment features a cast of more than 100 singing and dancing students from Chapman’s acclaimed College of Performing Arts, accompanied by a live orchestra. The black-tie gala includes a lavish evening of dinner and dancing – one you don’t want to miss!

Reception 5:30 P.M. - Stage Show 7:00 P.M.

Gala Dinner 8:30 P.M.


Purchase Tickets for Gala

Dream Adventures Auction

Bidding Takes Place September 25 - October 25


Citizens of the Year Award:

Suki and Randall McCardle

McCardle Honoree Photo

A deep belief in the power of education helps drive the philanthropy of this dynamic couple. But the two have traveled diverse paths to reach their shared passion for learning and for helping others achieve. Like many in her family, Suki McCardle was a teacher in her native Korea, and her first job after she moved to Southern California was as an educator in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Meanwhile, before he became a highly successful real estate broker and one of the founders of Citizens Bank of Costa Mesa, Randall McCardle ’58 (M.A. ’66) was a ninth-grade dropout who struggled to find his purpose in life. When he joined the Navy, the first document he filled out asked his level of education, and he had to circle the lowest grade listed.

“That motivated me,” Randy said. “Education became important to me, and I started hanging out with learned people. I figured that if they can do it, why can’t I?”

Randy went on to earn two degrees from Chapman – a B.A. in social science and an M.A. in education – before getting his Ph.D. from the University of Western Colorado in 1974. As a longtime member of the Chapman Board of Trustees and now an Emeritus Trustee, he has helped guide the University during the most successful period in its history. Along the way, he and Suki – a member of the Women of Chapman support group – have also counseled students to develop their own unique vision and to pursue learning with a can-do spirit.

Randy’s successful career in business includes founding The Real Estaters and Treeco Escrow, as well as International Travel Specialists. He is a past president of the Newport-Costa Mesa Board of Realtors and director of the Orange County Coast Association, as well as serving on the boards of five corporations. In addition to Chapman University, the McCardles have provided vital philanthropic support to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, among other organizations.

Supporting Chapman comes easily, the McCardles say, because the University combines effectiveness with efficiency. “That seems simple enough, but it’s hard to achieve – for a university or a company,” Randy said.

“So much has changed since I first came to campus in 1955, but the positive aura that first attracted me still remains,” Randy added. “Suki and I feel a lot of affection for Chapman.”

The feeling is mutual.

Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award: Beau, Jeff, and Lloyd Bridges

Beau Bridges profile.

Acclaimed actor Beau Bridges has distinguished himself in performances across film, television and the stage. Beau got his start as a child actor, appearing in popular shows such as The Fugitive and Bonanza and alongside his father in The Lloyd Bridges Show. Beau starred in the Oscar-nominated film The Landlord (1970), and a string of notable movie roles followed, including The Other Side of the Mountain (1975), Norma Rae (1979) and co-starring with his brother, Jeff, in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989). More recently, Beau has acted in a number of hit shows, including My Name is Earl, Brothers & Sisters and Stargate SG-1, as well as the films Max Payne (2008) and The Descendants (2011). In 2012, Beau also made a splash on Broadway, starring in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He has won three Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes and even a Grammy. Beau is also a dedicated supporter of several nonprofit organizations, including FilmAid International, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Jeff Bridges profile.

Jeff Bridges has had a long and storied career as a Hollywood leading man. Together with his older brother, Beau, and father, Lloyd, Jeff acted in Sea Hunt and The Lloyd Bridges Show on television. He earned an Oscar nomination for the classic film The Last Picture Show in 1971, and received another three years later acting alongside Clint Eastwood in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. He starred in the hit movies King Kong (1976), TRON (1982), Starman (1984), The Fisher King (1991) and Iron Man (2008). In 1998, he played the now-iconic character of The Dude in the beloved comedy The Big Lebowski. In 2008, Britain’s Empire magazine rated The Dude as the seventh greatest movie character of all time—ahead of James Bond. After four previous nominations, Jeff won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the film Crazy Heart (2009), and has since received another nomination for True Grit (2010). Jeff is a major voice in the fight to end world hunger, and in 1983 he founded the End Hunger Network to raise awareness of the issue in the U.S.

Lloyd Bridges profile.

The late, great Lloyd Bridges had a glittering career spanning more than six decades. After studying political science at UCLA, Lloyd went into acting against the wishes of his father, who had wanted him to become a lawyer. Following his passions, Lloyd found success first on Broadway and then in film as a Columbia Pictures contract player. In 1958, Lloyd became a star in Sea Hunt, which was the highest-rated show on television and ran for 155 episodes. He followed this success with memorable roles in several notable shows and miniseries, including Rod Sterling’s The Loner, Roots, The Blue and the Gray and the original Battlestar Galactica. Lloyd also put in hilarious turns in such beloved spoofs as Airplane! (1980) and Hot Shots! (1991), and even received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on Seinfeld. Lloyd passed away in 1998 at age 85, survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Dorothy. Lloyd was committed to the causes of environmental conservation, through the groups Oceana and Heal the Bay, and world peace.


Gala Chairs: Twyla and Charles D. Martin

Gala Charis

Honorary Gala Chairs: 

  • Zee Allred and Drago Gligic
  • Julianne and George L. Argyros
  • Kelly and James V. Mazzo
  • Marybelle and S. Paul Musco

Executive Committee Members:

  • Marta Bhathal
  • Adrienne Brandes
  • Leslie Cancellieri
  • Sally Crockett
  • Catherine Emmi
  • Donna Janes
  • Pat Jones
  • Eve Kornyei Ruffatto
  • Joann Leatherby
  • Rebecca McLarand
  • Pamela Paul

Honorary Host Committee:

  • Bette Aitken
  • Deborah Bridges
  • Kay Burra
  • Kathryn Glassmyer Cenci
  • Tammi Cluck
  • Christine Cross
  • Carol Demorest
  • Kristina Dodge
  • Jacqueline Dorrance
  • Carmela Du
  • Barbara Eidson
  • Ruth Ann Evans
  • Cindy Fry
  • Joan Gayner
  • Eleanor Gordon
  • Kathy Hamilton
  • Maralou Harrington
  • Nina Montee Karp
  • Pamela Kashani
  • Shanaz Langson
  • Diana Martin
  • Carole Meltzer
  • Mona Nesseth
  • Magic Passo
  • Cecilia Presley
  • Harriet Sandhu
  • Terry Schreyer
  • Donna Schroeder
  • Sandi Simon
  • Deedee Sodaro
  • Mindy Stearns
  • Patricia Steinmann
  • Sue Stern
  • Twila True
  • Ann Van Ausdeln
  • Tracy Weiner
  • Carol Wilken
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Lana Barendse '15

Major: Political Science

I cannot put into words how truly grateful I am to have been offered such generous scholarship opportunities at Chapman University. I would not be attending the prestigious private school of my dreams without charitable gifts from thoughtful donors and friends of Chapman. Scholarships have allowed me to fully invest myself in pursuit of my dream of achieving a four-year degree, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. I have witnessed amazing selflessness in the form of scholarships that will assist me with my future plans, and I hope one day to reciprocate by giving back to the university that has shaped me as a student, leader and citizen.