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Stephens College Alumna Gayle Benson, Susan Schmidt, MLS, Stephens Alumnae Club of Dallas President and Houston Philanthropist Dr. Carolyn Farb, who was honored by the Stephens College Alumnae Club of Dallas at their annual fundraising luncheon. Photo by Jessica Adkins.

Members and friends of the Stephens College Alumnae Club of Dallas gathered recently at the Dallas Country Club for their annual fundraiser, honoring Houston philanthropist Dr. Carolyn Farb.  It was an afternoon to celebrate the Stephens tradition of excellence in the creative arts and sciences and to raise funds for a new building for the Physician’s Assistant program. Stephens College is the second-oldest women’s college in the country.

Upon arrival, guests including Lloyd & Gayle Benson, III (Son of Senator Lloyd Benson, Jr.), Carolyn McCammon, Dr. Christi Harris, Shirlee and John Jamail of Houston, Frances Dare, Susan Ingram, Melinda Kardon and Regina Villa, sipped wine and enjoyed bidding in the silent auction for Mavs tickets, original art, pearls, designer children’s clothing from Helena & Harry IV Co. and much more, before moving on to the program.

Celebrated Dallas sportscaster Scott Murray welcomed everyone and introduced Dr. Monica P. McMurry, Dean of the School of Design.  Dr. McMurry proudly shared that the fashion program at Stephens is rated one of the top five in the nation by The Business of Fashion, a London-based fashion news agency, and it is also the only institution listed in all three international rankings given by BOF.

Dr. McMurry went on to honor Dr. Carolyn Farb, hc, for the exquisite gowns she has donated to the Costume Museum and Research Library fashion collection. “The collection dates to 1700 and houses over 13,000 items of dress,” said Dr. McMurry. “It depends solely on generous donations from alumnae, friends and collectors like Carolyn to provide research data via the element of clothing to study the lives of women,” she added. Three of Carolyn Farb’s gowns were on display and drew an enthusiastic response from everyone.

Dr. Carolyn Farb is Houston’s premier fundraiser, author, art patron and philanthropist, who is committed to volunteerism for the greater good.  Known for her sense of style she is often described as a walking work of art, and she has been the muse to many well-known designers such as Donna Karen, James Galanos, and Bill Blass. Dr. Farb is also keen to embrace young, new design/art talent.  In acknowledging Dr. McMurry’s remarks she said, “If I had it to do all over again, I would be a Stephens alumna.  Why?  Top Fashion Department in the country, cool Film Festival called Citizen Jane, and the pet-friendliest campus in the country!  The campus spirit gives one the wings to soar.”

The program continued with a video produced by Scott Murray, Murray Media, which highlighted the history of Stephens College and the Stephens Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program and its new building with a state-of-the art anatomy lab, and high-tech classrooms.

Finally, Keynote Speaker Ken LaZebnik, a Hollywood screenwriter and Founder and Director of the Stephens College MFA Program in Television and Screenwriting, spoke about the Low-Residency program in Los Angeles and the successes of the students. LaZebnik wrote the Lionsgate film Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage, released in 2008, starring Peter O’Toole and Marcia Gay Harden. He showed a clip of the film and told a moving story about Peter O’Toole, which delighted the audience.

Guests then enjoyed lunch with lovely floral arrangements by Freesia Florist before concluding the afternoon with spirited bidding in the live auction which included getaway stays at the Benson’s Broadleaf Farm House, a Bungalow in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, a Townhouse in Jackson Hole, and a Padre Island Condo.

Established in 1833, Stephens College is the second-oldest women’s college in the country. Stephens College welcomes both women and men into all of its graduate programs. The College’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is a revitalization of its PA program first offered in 1975, one of the first such programs in the country.

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