Newport (R.I.) July 9, 2013 — On the evening of July 6, over 600 individuals flocked to technical school IYRS (Newport, R.I.) for the facility’s Annual Summer Gala sponsored by Fidelity Investments and Jaguar. Gala-goers enjoyed cocktails inside Restoration Hall amidst examples of stunning student craftsmanship, dinner under a cloud of white tent, and a special live performance by Jimmy Buffett and his band. But these IYRS supporters gave more than they got at this elegant evening under the stars along Newport’s waterfront: together with sponsors, attendees raised $885,000 for the school. Some of these monies will be used for technology and equipment purchases that keep students at the vanguard of technology in the fast-evolving fields of marine and composites manufacturing.
“IYRS continues to build support for the extraordinary student outcomes and the school’s education model,” said IYRS president Terry Nathan. “More than 85 percent of our graduates are employed on or about the time they complete their programs. At a time when the conversation in America is about training more people to make and build things, an IYRS education is preparing people for life-long careers of working and thinking through their hands. It is a compelling and important story.”
Earl and Elizabeth McMillen of McMillen Yachts (Beaufort, S.C. and Newport, R.I.), who have been ardent supporters of IYRS since the school’s early days, served as event co-chairs to orchestrate a successful evening. “We have been delighted and honored to support IYRS over the past seventeen years,” said Earl McMillen. “IYRS has supported our yacht restoration business with capable, bright and motivated shipwrights. It is an educational institution which gives its students the ability to follow their dreams and pursue a career that satisfies them on all levels.”
The evening included both a live auction during the sit-down dinner and an expansive silent auction. Senior Auctioneer C. Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s, who has conducted some of the auction house’s most prestigious sales, including those of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Collection of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, conducted the live auction. The top-earning auction item of the evening was a painting by maritime artist John Mecray of the 1885 schooner yacht Coronet, which is now being restored on the IYRS campus. Other live-auction items included a seven-day charter on the stunning 105-foot sailing ketch Whitehawk, a stay in an oceanside villa in St. Barths during the St. Barths Bucket megayacht regatta, and a Lloyd McCaffrey miniature model of the Bounty. Gala guests were also enthusiastic bidders in a reverse auction for Equipment, Tools & Technology, ensuring that students continue to have access to the state-of-the art equipment that is critical to their training.
This year’s Gala attracted a strong lineup of sponsors. Joining title sponsors Fidelity Investments and Jaguar were the Argo Group, Bacardi, BankNewport, Boat International, Condé Nast Publications, Pamela & Andrew Constantine, Bob Eichler, Friendship Yacht Company, Hess Corporation, The Hinckley Company, The Hilton Group at UBS, Dan MacDonald and Three Golden Apples, McMillen Yachts, Newport Harbor Corporation, Coronet Restoration Partners, Tradewinds Aviation, Vareika Fine Arts, Whitehawk LLC, and Wimco Private Villas.
IYRS is a marine trades and technology school that trains individuals for careers in the marine and composites industries and associated fields that utilize wood- and composites-building technology. The school trains craftsmen and skilled technicians in three full-time programs—in boatbuilding and restoration, marine systems, and composites technology—that all emphasize experiential, hands-on learning and career preparation. Students learn to make, restore and maintain things with a heightened sense of purpose and craft, making them in demand across industries. The school maintains two campuses in Rhode Island: a waterfront campus on Newport’s historic Thames Street, and a Bristol facility located amidst an active hub of composites- and marine-industry activity. The school’s Composites Technology Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. For more information, visit ww.iyrs.edu.