Gala Tells Story of Institute

Nov 16, 2009

SCI marked a milestone this year—175 years of service to the maritime community. To celebrate, the Institute sponsored a major Gala at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on November 11. Over 300 supporters, with a variety of associations, came to the event held in the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s mother church.

“It’s a leap from our small beginnings,” said David S. French, Chairman of SCI’s Board of Trustees, referring to the enormous 11,200-square-meter Cathedral. French reminded listeners during his Gala speech of SCI’s first headquarters, a small floating church made from wood moored in New York’s East River. “SCI has a rich history and a strong mission, which continues to be vital and necessary today.”

Images of SCI’s past, including archival photos projected onto a 20-foot screen at the cathedral’s crossing, told the story of SCI’s mission. Guests mingled, sharing stories jovially, until the State Trumpets of the Great Organ (its loudest set of pipes) called the gathering to their tables for dinner. “We’d been warned that this was going to be shockingly loud,” said Carrie Christensen, SCI’s Special Events Coordinator, who communicated with the cathedral’s organ loft via cell phone that evening. “I wasn’t disappointed.”

SCI invited supporters from all over the country to see and hear the Institute’s story. A supportive contingency from Paducah, KY, home to one of SCI’s two maritime training facilities included its mayor, William F. Paxton. Others from global shipping corporations, loyal churches, and various volunteers purchased tickets for SCI’s Gala. (See the list of Gala Sponsors on this page.)

The dinner program contained two short addresses by leaders at SCI and a musical performance. The Johnson Girls, an all female a cappella sea chanty group, sang several songs from maritime trading’s storied past. Gracious Thyme catered the evening meal.

SCI’s President and Executive Director, the Rev. David M. Rider, set apart his remarks that evening with several words of thanksgiving. He said, “SCI has fostered associations with people from around the world who have helped mariners perform their jobs with dignity. Each gift—from knitted scarves to legacy donations—makes the difference in the life of a real person.”

175th Anniversary Gala Sponsors

Legacy Sponsor
The Chubb Corporation

Heritage Sponsors
AEP River Operations
General Maritime Corporation
Intrepid Shipping
McDonough Marine Service
Penn Maritime, Inc.

Water Street Sponsors
AEP River Operations
Capital Counsel
Connecticut Maritime Association &
   International Marketing Strategies
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
Hill Rivkins & Hayden
Ingram Barge Company
George M. Isdale, Jr.
K-Sea Transportation Partners
Kongsberg Maritime Simulation
Alfred Lee Loomis III
Starr Marine Agency, Inc.
Watson, Farley & Williams
Kenneth Wheeler