- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2005

Afrosty blue and white winter wonderland greeted 1,300-plus guests at Saturday’s 20th anniversary Lombardi gala at the Washington Hilton benefiting Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

More than $1.2 million was raised, giving this popular hometown charity its fifth year of record-setting revenue. A huge and noisy 400-item “silent auction” brought in more than $250,000, including an $8,500 bid for a week’s stay at gala founder Margaret L. Hodges’ redecorated Jamaican manse. Live auction items brought in $82,000 and included a Lexus luxury hybrid and an Italian vacation for four in a 350-year old Tuscan villa.

Honorees included two favorite Olympian gold medal athletes: figure skater Peggy Fleming, a breast cancer survivor, and speed skaterDan Jansen, whose sister Jane died of leukemia. Longtime Lombardi supporter Paul Schweitzer, executive vice president of the suburban Washington offices of Julien J. Studley, Inc., a national commercial real estate firm, received the Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award for his nearly two decades of fundraising for this innovative cancer center.

“We have created miracles in the lives of so many,” Mr. Schweitzer said, noting that this year’s fundraising success was “especially incredible considering the tsunami, hurricanes and other national disasters that have wiped out all corporate money.”

Vince Lombardi II, grandson of the late, great football coach for whom the center is named, and his wife, Sally Sue, flew in from Seattle to attend. Now an assistant district attorney there, Mr. Lombardi, 39, played defensive tackle in high school but “not well. … I was only 5 when my grandfather died and my clearest memory is of riding around training camp in a golf cart with him. I guess he already felt sick and he let me drive.”

Miss Fleming, 57, an ABC and ESPN commentator, looked glamorous in a strapless off-white Vera Wang mermaid gown (Miss Wang was also a talented figure skater). Now a mother of two and grandmother of three, her life is chockablock with broadcasting duties and helping to run a vineyard with Dr. Greg Jenkins, her handsome dermatologist husband of 35 years.

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and his wife, Cathy, co-chaired the event for the second year. Also spotted in the crowd: Georgette Mosbacher, FredandMarlene MalekandBillandDorothy McSweeny, Australian Ambassador Dennis Richardson and wife Betty, and Mimi Logoglu, wife of the Turkish ambassador. Comcast was the major event underwriter.

— Gail Scott

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