The applause must still be reverberating through the ballroom at the Hilton Americas-Houston, where earlier this week, golf great Jack Nicklaus was the headliner at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's "A Conversation With a Living Legend."
All 800 guests stood and applauded and applauded over and over again — for the Golden Bear and his interviewer CBS celebrity sportscaster Jim Nantz, for MD Anderson president Dr. John Mendelsohn and for 17-year-old cancer patient James Ragan of Corpus Christi, who won the hearts of the audience as he told the story of his valiant battle with the disease.
In that gathering were some of the city's top philanthropists and civic and social leaders starting with the chairs — Katie and Harry Cullen Jr., Rose and Harry Cullen Sr. and Kathy Cullen McCord and Jody McCord. Continuing the lineup of social/philanthropic heavyweights were honorary chairs — Ginger and Jack Blanton Sr., Kelli and Eddy Blanton and Leslie and Jack Blanton Jr.
This no-nonsense, get-down-to-business luncheon began promptly at 11:30, leaving many who are accustomed to the 30-minute leeway before the action starts, arriving to a darkened ballroom with speakers already at the podium. Next year, we bet that everyone will be in their places for the two-hour midday event.
In this room full of notables were major luncheon sponsors Patsy and Greg Fourticq, Barbara and Charles Hurwitz, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Joan Schnitzer-Levy and Irvin Levy, Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff and Carole and Ken Bailey. Their contributions helped take the days proceeds to more than $470,000.
Rounding out the high-profile contingent was Steve Ford (son of late President Gerald Ford), former Mayor Bob Lanier and Elyse Lanier, Janet and Ernie Cockrell, Regina Rogers, Rosemary Schatzman, Anne and Mark Connally, Denise and Bill Monteleone, Anne Mendelsohn, Pam and Randall Onstead, Lisa and Mike O'Leary and so many more.