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Gala Raises $500K to Support Neurodiverse Student Success

Landmark College’s 2022 fundraising gala, “More Than We Imagine,” was held April 28, 2022 in New York City and raised more than $500,000 to support the College’s Annual Fund and Imagine Campaign.

For the first time, Landmark College’s fundraiser was held in a hybrid format − both online and in person − to expand participation in the festivities, which included both a live auction and an online auction, remarks from several speakers, and a video that highlighted how charitable donations directly lead to successful student outcomes.

The dollar amount raised exceeded goals for the College’s Annual Fund, which helps provide everything necessary for student success within the current fiscal year; and the “Imagine Campaign,” which is preparing Landmark College for the future by growing the endowment, investing in scholarships, expanding career readiness opportunities and LC Online offerings, and responding to challenges and opportunities as they arise.

Sheinelle Jones, co-host of the 3rd hour of NBC News’ TODAY, received the College’s LD Luminary Award, given to a person in the public eye who raises awareness of and destigmatizes learning differences (LD) and neurodiversity. Her stirring acceptance speech told the story of her adult brother, who has faced learning challenges his entire life.

“I come to you tonight as a big sister and a loving family member, an advocate like many of you, determined to make sure that our loved ones who may face different challenges still have an opportunity to learn and seek out educators who can meet them where they are,” she said.

Jones’ friend and TODAY colleague Al Roker, who was Landmark College’s 2021 LD Luminary Award winner, also attended the gala. The next morning, Jones and Roker talked about the event and Landmark College’s mission during TODAY.

“It was amazing to be in the room with these bright young people who have graduated,” Jones said, calling it “inspiring” to hear how neurodiverse students can thrive in the right learning environment.

New York Times best-selling author John Elder Robison, a visiting lecturer and advisor to Landmark College’s Center for Neurodiversity, was a special guest at the gala. He talked about his own autism diagnosis as an adult and the advocacy he has done for individuals to embrace the neurodiversity identity.

“Landmark is the first college to focus on the concept that we are more than just disabled people to be remediated,” Robison said. “We are gifted people to be supported while also minimizing our disabilities.”

Landmark College President Peter Eden presented the College’s first Founders Award to Trustee Emeritus Charles Strauch, who recounted the founding of Landmark College by Dr. Charles Drake. Strauch also recognized, by name, the LC alumni and faculty who were in attendance at the gala.

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