Event Date: May 11, 2023
Location: Hilton Americas-Houston
Beneficiary: Holocaust Museum Houston
No. in attendance: 1,100 +
Money Raised: $1,700,000
Honorary Chair: Hallie Vanderhider
Honorary Vice-Chairs: Paula Goldstein, Laura and Rick Jaramillo, Mady and Ken Kades, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Eileen and Kase Lawal, Donna and Norman Lewis, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Dr. Laura Murillo, Sylvia and Gordon Quan, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Margaret Alkek Williams and Cyvia Wolff
Chairpersons: Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin
Honorees: Drs. Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi
Presenting Sponsor: Paula Goldstein
Photography: Priscilla Dickson, Jacob Power and Gary Fountain
Holocaust Museum Houston “Saved the Best for Last” at Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award Dinner
In 1994, Holocaust Museum Houston created the LBJ Moral Courage Award in cooperation with his family. It recognizes a single righteous act or a life of morally courageous behavior. In previous galas, honorees have included Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg posthumously; President George W. Bush; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. posthumously; Elie Wiesel; Mia Farrow; Honorable John McCain; the late Daniel Pearl; Honorable Colin Powell; Honorable Lloyd Bentsen, Jr.; Steven Spielberg; President Dwight D. Eisenhower posthumously, and others.
More than 1,100 thrilled attendees gathered with Dinner Chairs Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Host Committee Chairs Stacy Soefer Gomar and Luis Gomar and Presenting Sponsor Paula Goldstein at Hilton Americas-Houston to honor and celebrate Drs. Peter Hotez and Maria Elena Bottazzi, and raise $1.7 million in the process. Joining in their success were Honorary Chair Hallie Vanderhider and Honorary Vice Chairs Paula Goldstein, Laura and Rick Jaramillo, Mady and Ken Kades, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Eileen and Kase Lawal, Donna and Norman Lewis, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Dr. Laura Murillo, Sylvia and Gordon Quan, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Margaret Alkek Williams and Cyvia Wolff. Their combined endeavors made this one the Museum’s most celebrated dinners in its 27-year history.
Dr. Hotez and Dr. Bottazzi developed a patent-free recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine technology now used in India to produce and manufacture the vaccine Corbevax™. More than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, saving countless lives. Holocaust Museum CEO Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga said, “The lifetime work of these ‘soulmates in science’ is simply awe-inspiring.”
Hilton Americas-Houston’s Executive Chef and his team pulled out all the stops with their delectable Kosher menu, and fêted designer Bergner and Johnson created a beautiful ballroom with centerpieces containing long stems of phalaenopsis orchids that cascaded atop tablecloths in shades of black.
The piece de resistance was a rousing performance by award-winning actress and singer Vanessa Williams, who sang a variety of her hits over her long and varied career, including “Love Is,” “Colors of the Wind,” and “The Sweetest Days,” plus an ode to Lena Horne with a stirring rendition of “Stormy Weather.” Her final number was one of her most recognizable ballads, as she deftly moved into singing, “Save the Best for Last.” As she told the audience, less than two months before the event, Vanessa had just reached her landmark 60th birthday. Many would never have known if she had kept silent about it. She was visually stunning on stage and in perfect voice. A perfect way to end a perfect gala evening!
Socially present (not previously mentioned): Lynn Wyatt, David Wuthrich, Sue Smith, Brigitte Kalai, Rhona and Bruce Caress, Benjamin and Joy Warren, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Trini Mendenhall, Regina Rogers, Beth Wolff, Joan Schnitzer, Ira Mitzner, Linda Lorelle and Lou Gregory, Amy Pierce, Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman, Chris Kase, Ray Rogers, Carol and Tom Sawyer, Jeff Henry, Derrick Shore and Brandon Bourque, Marguerite Swartz, Daniel Irion, Khambrel and Debbie Marshal, Christine Johnson, Steve Johnson, Jody Merritt, Ellie Francisco and Lesha Elsenbrook