St. David’s Toast of the Town Events Raise Funds For Aspiring Medical Professionals
By Rob Giardinelli
Photography by Matthew Fuller, Robert Godwin and Tomas Segura
THE SCENE: Twenty-one themed events. Four weeks. These parties, each a tour-de-force in its own right, were held all throughout the Austin area – from downtown to the Hill Country – each with a special theme that highlighted the diverse interests of the city. St. David’s Toast of the Town parties brought out hundreds of Austin’s social elite for one of the city’s most anticipated social events.
THE VIBE: Each party was an intimate affair ranging from six to 50 guests, creating an intimate and welcoming vibe for everyone, regardless of the soirée they attended. A common theme throughout were the generous hosts and patrons who donned their favorite Austin-chic attire that reflects the casual elegance for which Austin is best known.
The themes of the parties featured something for everyone. Sports enthusiasts had their pick of several parties, where they could chat up UT Head Basketball Coach Shaka Smart at the home of Sharon and Joe Aragona, while another party featured new UT Head Football Coach Tom Herman in one of his first public fundraising appearances since being named head coach at the home of Melissa and Kent Ferguson. Literary lovers had the opportunity to converse with several authors including Frank Denius, an author and World War II hero, at the home of Cindy Wilson… while others engaged in stimulating conversation at an event featuring Pulitzer Prize winning author Philipp Meyer at the home of Kathy and Randy Taylor.
Martha and Richard Coons hosted a stimulating conversation on contemporary cultural issues with Homer Ross Tomlin, whose grandfather, Homer Thornberry was a passionate advocate justice in the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. Others chose the downtown Austin home of Eddie Safady to have an engaging conversation with world-renowned historians H.W. Brands, Douglas Brinkley and Mark Updegrove. Among so many more events, those seeking to celebrate their Texas roots were able to do so at the home of Cord and Ann Shiflet where guests were able to pose with both the legendary Bevo steer and the Texas Cowboys while the grand finale event was held at The Range for an Urban Cowboy film themed party that was perfect ending to another fabulous Toast party season.
THE CAUSE: This year’s Toast of the Town events, led by event chair Lesa Rossick and vice chair Tobie Funte Flannery, raised over $1.5 million for the Dr. Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program at St. David’s hospital. The scholarships are awarded to approximately 50 high school seniors in Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays County who seek to pursue a career in the medical field.