Celebrating 10 Years of Backstage Pass

By: Laura Glenn

Our 2019 Backstage Pass to the Very Best of Florida State entailed a weekend of grand festivities, as we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of both this signature event and Women for FSU. On Friday evening, a gala was held at the FSU Alumni Center Ballroom, where guests received silk scarves in recognition of the milestone. A jazz trio, fronted by singer Avis Barry, regaled everyone in attendance as prosecco was poured and hors d’oeuvres were served. The evening also included a performance from two talented students from the FSU Music Theatre Program in the School of Theatre and the College of Music, entertaining the crowd with a varied selection of solos.

A photo of three women chatting at a table
An overhead photo of a woman presenting various styles of clothing on mannequins to an audience
A photo of a young woman standing at a podium, smiling
A photo of a young woman at a podium, speaking to an audience
A photo of a group of people at a table crafting with colorful fabric
A photo of a panel of people speaking to an audience in a conference room

After starting bright and early Saturday morning, the Backstage Pass weekend continued with exciting afternoon events. Attendees traveled downtown to join Dr. Susan Fiorito, director of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship, to hear about the program and the inspiring work of The Jim Moran Center for Global Entrepreneurship. While there, our attendees had the chance to experience some unique aspects of the school, including seeing first-hand how women from different eras dressed through a rare opportunity to view FSU’s extensive costume collection—corsets and all. Additionally, everyone tried their hand at sewing infinity scarves printed with the tonal pattern of FSU’s “war chant,” which was part of an entrepreneurship student’s project dedicated to helping youth in Ethiopia earn a living wage.

Attendees also visited the Honors, Scholars and Fellows House on campus to learn about the FSU Graduate School from Dean Mark Riley and his colleagues. Students shared personal experiences and how they receive opportunities to attend professional conferences and expand their research from even the smallest donations and gifts. Undergraduate Presidential Scholars graciously wrapped up our afternoon with a tour followed by a panel, moderated by Associate Dean Craig Filar, to learn just how impressive these young students are.

Lunch was served at the Center for Global Engagement, where Director Cynthia Green shared more about the center’s programming. Attendees also got to hear from students about how their experiences abroad shaped opportunities for them, both academically and through personal growth.

On Saturday evening, we recognized members of the original W4FSU steering committee, the first executive committee and previous Gift of Wisdom Award recipients with a single red rose. It was an honor to have so many influential women be a part of the celebration, including Professor Emerita Kitty Hoffman, 2013 Gift of Wisdom Award recipient. Besides our diamond anniversary, W4FSU had an additional accomplishment to applaud with the announcement that attendees had raised $5,000 for FSU’s Great Give, a generous gift to match donations made in support of the Women’s Leadership Institute. The 2019 Gift of Wisdom Award, presented by Julie Dunn Eichenberg, was given to Dr. Mary Coburn who remarked her course of action was staying true to her values throughout her career. Our program concluded with heartfelt remarks from President John Thrasher. Overall, another weekend was well-spent experiencing truly the very best our University has to offer.

A photo of a woman standing at a podium, speaking
A photo of an elderly women holding a red rose
A photo of a woman standing at a podium, smiling
A photo of a woman singing
A photo of three people, smiling at the camera
A photo of a woman singing