by Kayla Tucker
This month, hundreds of Grand Rapids residents dress in their best 1920s attire for The Great Gatsby Hope on the Hill Gala, at the Van Andel Institute (VAI). Weaving with VAI’s 20th anniversary, this year’s roaring twenties theme encourages guests to embrace all things glamorous like gold, old cars and cigars to awaken the socially festive decade in present-day Grand Rapids.
This annual event raises funds for VAI’s relentless biomedical research that focuses on all types of cancer and Parkinson’s disease, along with providing science education by working with students and teachers from local schools. VAI employs over 300 people who work in these departments that are impacting medical history. Guests have the opportunity to meet some of the scientists and researchers at the event and learn more about their life-changing efforts.
“We think our gala is definitely unique in the way that we change things and completely transform the institute into what it is for the evening,” VAI’s Special Events Coordinator, Megan Schroeder, said. “It’s a great way for people to have this awesome night out, really have fun and also celebrate everything we’ve done for the past 20 years.”
Hope on the Hill showers guests with unlimited food samples from Grand Rapids’ finest restaurants, like The Chop House and Reserve, which are stationed around the room. Make sure to glance at the available auction items as you make your way throughout the stylishly transformed space.
America’s Got Talent’s Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. infuses the evening with live musical entertainment that gets guests
waltzing on the dance floor. Schroeder expressed how the relation Murphy’s sound has to Frank Sinatra makes him the perfect pick for the event. “Landau is just breathtaking when you hear him,” Schroeder said. “It’s great to have someone who’s amazing at what he does and who generally cares about what we’re doing.”
Tickets are available for this year’s stunning event at $250 each along with sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. For sponsorship or ticket information, visit VAI.org.
What: Hope on the Hill Gala
Where: Van Andel Institute, 333 Bostwick Ave. NE
When: October 27, 6 p.m.
Tickets: $250 per person. Get tickets at VAI.org.
Kayla Tucker is a journalism student at Grand Rapids Community College and editor-in-chief of The Collegiate newspaper and website.