UTMB School of Nursing fashion show to kick off social season
Put away your flip-flops — you wouldn’t want to be caught dead in them at this lunch party.
The fifth annual University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing’s Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon on Nov. 1 isn’t the place to be seen in your most stylish beachwear, said Dr. Pamela Watson, dean of the nursing school. It’s the place to be seen in your most elegant daywear.
The fashion show, presented by Houston’s Tootsies and produced by Lenny Matuszewski and Tamara Klosz Bonar, and luncheon is considered by some to be the kick-off event to Galveston’s fall social season.
More than 500 women and men each year attend the fashion show to catch a glimpse of the hottest looks Tootsies has to offer for Christmas, New Year’s and Mardi Gras parties as the fashions are strutted down the runway by professional models from Neal Hamil and Page Parkes modeling agencies.
After the show, a pop-up boutique in the lobby is rushed by the fashion-forward who are ready to plunk down their plastic to pick up what they just saw on the runway. The exclusive boutique, which donates a Champagne reception at its Houston store for the auction, also donates 10 percent of its sales from the pop-up shop to the school.
The idea for the fashion show was born from the desire to create an honors program in the nursing school. Organizers wanted “something elegant, that people would dress up for … like that you see in Town & Country Magazine,” Watson said.
Many of the island’s most stylish already were shopping at Tootsies, so it was the obvious choice to approach about creating the show, Watson said. The event is a fundraiser for scholarships for students in the nursing school’s honors program.
The show’s success, Watson believes, lies in how it’s professionally executed — the decorations, the auction items and the models. Oh, and the runway show.
“Lenny (Matuszewski) is such an artist,” Watson said.
This year, the event is chaired by Susanne Sullivan and co-chaired by her daughters and daughters-in-law — Kelley Sullivan, Kristen Sullivan Berger, Sarah Sullivan and Jocelyn Sullivan. The nursing school is near and dear to Susanne Sullivan, who is a graduate of the school, daughter-in-law Sarah Sullivan said.
“I have great respect for our dean and friend, Dr. Pam Watson,” Susanne Sullivan said.
Working so closely with family members might give some people pause, but not the Sullivans.
“It’s a dynamic that’s rare and fun,” Sarah Sullivan said. “My closest confidants and best friends all share my last name, and for that I feel truly blessed. These women are the ‘doers.’ They are fun. They are smart. They get things done.”
Sarah Sullivan looks forward to the luncheon and the style show, but the scholarships are special, she said.
Last year, the event raised $185,000. The scholarships provide tuition support as the students venture into rural communities and learn the ins and outs of providing health care in community-based projects. The students learn such things as implementing the Medicaid 1115 Waiver, which transforms how Medicaid is paid for in Texas, and speaking with local politicians about how to influence policy.
University of Texas Medical Branch Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon
Supporting the Honors Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing.
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 1; Galveston Island Convention Center at the San Luis Resort and Spa, 5600 Seawall Blvd., Galveston; individual tickets, $175 to $1,000; tables, $2,000 to $10,000; 409.772.1542, firstname.lastname@example.org; nursing.utmb.edu/holiday-style/; tootsies.com/