Western University of Health Sciences’ annual gala A Tribute to Caring (ATC) raised more than $125,000 for student scholarships and honored friends of the university.

ATC was held Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. About 500 guests enjoyed casino games, a raffle, dinner and dancing. The Harold W. Harris Foundation received the Access to Caring Award, recognizing its support of WesternU’s Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy (CDHP).

The foundation carries on the legacy of the Harris family. Eleanore Harris became a quadriplegic in a car accident in 1934. Her siblings – Thelma, Alvin and Harold – vowed to stick together until Eleanore walked again.

Eleanore never walked again, but her family kept their promise to stay together, and developed and operated several successful businesses. Harold, the last of the four siblings to die in 2001, wanted the family’s money used to support research and public policies aimed at increasing the independence and self-reliance of people like Eleanore.

“Eleanore was injured at a time when most people with spinal cord injuries did not survive,” said CDHP Founding Director Brenda Premo, MBA. “Because of the dedication of her family, she lived a long and productive life running the family business, but she was not able to get into the community because of access. What they have done with this gift is honor Eleanore’s life through CDHP and the lives of people today like Eleanore who are in the community because of advances made in science, civil rights and medicine.”

CDHP started with the vision of WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, who brought Brenda Premo on board to carry out that vision, said Howard Borenstein, Harris Family Foundation board member and a relative of the Harris’.

“We are honored to be part of CDHP,” Borenstein said. “This center and the great work the center does is their legacy. This is a wonderful tribute to my cousins, whose legacy will live on.”

As always, proceeds from A Tribute to Caring provide much-needed scholarship support for students in the University’s colleges of biomedical sciences, dental medicine, graduate nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, allied health professions, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. WesternU’s students are tomorrow’s health care providers, combining medical and scientific expertise with a humanistic philosophy, and they will carry the University’s message across the globe.

“We as administrators and leaders see the result of our work – healers who make a difference in our society,” Dr. Pumerantz said. “I’m honored that you share my vision and my mission. It’s our outstanding faculty and students that make this all work.”

Among the many special guests were Congresswoman Judy Chu and Assemblyman Mike Eng, who each presented a certificate of recognition to WesternU.

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific student Lindsey Stannard signed copies of her book, “Bow Ties, Butterflies & Band-Aids,” which describes her life as a three-time cancer survivor, with donations going toward student scholarships. This follows the precedent set at last year’s ATC by WesternU Board of Trustees member Vince Naimoli, who signed copies of his autobiography “Business, Baseball & Beyond” to benefit scholarships.

“It’s really nice to have an organized event like this to raise funds and sponsor students’ education,” said College of Podiatric Medicine student Sonia Mvuemba, DPM ’13. “It’s nice the school is invested in the education of its students.”

ATC is a high-class event that sets a wonderful tone for the university, said WesternU Board of Trustees member David Sadava, PhD.

“At ‘A Tribute to Caring’ you hear about the humanistic values of the university,” he said. “Everyone comes away feeling wonderful about the university and what it does. Everyone I have brought here feels that way.”

Guests are able to meet and talk with students who benefit from these scholarships at ATC.

“It shows our values are not just window dressing,” Dr. Sadava said. “It’s a tribute to the philosophy of WesternU.”

WesternU thanks everyone who supported the 2010 A Tribute to Caring gala, especially its Silver Sponsors: AmerisourceBergen, DPR Construction Inc., Prime Healthcare Services, PrimeCare Medical Group Network, The Harold W. Harris Foundation, Dr. Stanley Toy and Wells Fargo Bank.