Inside NYU Langone Medical Center’s 2010 Violet Ball

I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all when I first approached Cipriani Wall Street on Monday night for NYU Langone Medical Center’s annual Violet Ball. Helen L. Kimmel, a longtime friend, board trustee and supporter of NYU Langone, was the guest of honor this year because of her exemplary commitment and devotion to the Medical Center.

With more than 850 guests in the ballroom, white orchids everywhere, and Frank Sinatra penetrating throughout the room, the evening was just so uplifting. The delicious Cipriani Belinis certainly made the room quite giddy, and allowed for everyone to relax, smile, and enjoy the night. The rain did not stop anyone from arriving on time and in spring spirits.

I spent most of my evening surrounded by some of the most prestigious medical geniuses. Ken Langone, of Home Depot, and his beautiful wife Elaine have donated so much to the hospital that now it is named after them as the Langone Medical Center. When he stood up to speak, his immediate diagnosis of the venue was one of awe. He thanked the doctors and nurses of the medical center, who have been an integral part of saving so many lives. He went on to explain that he receives calls on a regular basis from people who have been patients at NYU Langone Medical Center and are so moved by the treatment and kindness they received throughout their stay.

Betsy Karel, daughter, with mother and honoree Helen L Kimmel

When Dr. Robert Grossman, dean and CEO of the Medical Center, addressed the guests, he expounded on Kimmel’s generosity and achievements. “Her generosity has enabled us to recruit major new talent, train and mentor promising young scientists, recognize the professional achievements of our nurses, and create groundbreaking academic and clinical programs in cancer, epilepsy, rehabilitation medicine, urology, vascular medicine, pharmacology and advanced cardiac care.” Dr. Grossman also acknowledged the generous $150 million gift from Mrs. Kimmel to build a new “state-of-the-art” clinical pavilion. The good doctor went on to announce that the fundraising fete brought in more than $4 million.

This is an invigorating  time for the medical center. They went after and received crucial federal funding,  made strides in the transformation of their campus, and can claim nursing excellence. We owe them an enormous gratitude.

Co-chairs for the event included Dr. Grossman; Robert Berne, PhD, NYU’s senior vice president for health affairs, Ken Langone, chair of the Board of Trustees; Martin Lipton, board trustee of NYU Langone Medical Center and chairman of the Board of Trustees of New York University; and John Sexton, president of NYU.

Special guests in attendance included: Lady Va and Sir Deryck Maughan, Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo, Alice and Tom Tisch, Adam Kimmel, actress Leelee Sobieski, Dalia and Larry Leeds, Lori and Larry Fink, Ken and Elaine Langone, Ruth and Sidney Lapidus, Shirley and Milton Cooper, Norma and Gordon Smith, Paula Viscogliosis, Klara and Larry Silverstein, and Norma and Gordon Smith.