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Annual Fundraising Event Brings Together The Community

Tea Time

Each May, after the hubbub of classes and finals has died down, the Ivy Tech Richmond campus is filled with a different sort of buzz. Tables and place settings are arranged in Johnson Hall where orchestral-style music plays. Guests take their seats, waited on by community leaders decked out in white shirts and black ties. And at last, the tea is served.

Ivy Tech Richmond's fundraising event "An Afternoon Tea with Ivy Tech" began with a chance encounter in Arizona by event founder Idris Smith. In 2005, Smith's great niece invited her to an afternoon tea event that was held as a fundraiser for a local non-profit.

"The concept is that an individual sponsors a table," Smith explains. "The sponsor then invites friends to join them as their guests. The primary responsibility of the table sponsor is to invite their friends to fill the table and to provide the table setting including their best china, table coverings, and decor."

Smith's experience in Arizona spawned an idea for a similar event at Ivy Tech. She immediately approached executive director of resource development Diana Pappin, and together they put the event in motion.

Now in its eighth year, the Afternoon Tea is serving more tea and treats than ever before. Last year's event set a new record: 16 servers hosting more than 160 attendees at 20 tables.

"The tea is an event for the community, by the community, that's what makes it so unique and keeps people coming back year after year," says Pappin.

Among the many community supporters are the event's committee members, Jill Anderson, Sherry Hampton, Cheryl Honkomp, Pat Jarvis, Joan Kitterman, Betty Klein, Lisa Marshall, Claire Ann Milligan, Roseann McConnell, Mae Monroe, Janie Mosey, Diana Pappin, and Linda Przybysz.

The servers are also an important part of the Tea. Denny Burns, president of Burns Corporation, has given his time to the event for several years. He says that it's an honor to be part of something so memorable.

"All of the servers look forward to it each year," he says, "and we're so proud to be involved. It has confirmed Ivy Tech's status in our community as an innovator and leader."

West End Bank has sponsored the afternoon tea since inception. The company has kept its commitment in support of the unique role the event plays in raising awareness of education - in particular the niche that Ivy Tech fills in preparing the future workforce. Last year was bank president John McBride's first opportunity to serve at the fundraiser.

"The event is unique in that it attracts a specific audience across all walks of life, provides the opportunity to show off wonderful china from the present to times past, and honors the work of Ivy Tech and its people," says McBride. "This event and others like it set the College apart in offering educational opportunities to young people for the future."