Nearly a $$Million Reasons to Applaud Burnham Institute's

'The Power to Cure' Gala


November 14th, 2009 brought out the scientific research supporters for the Burnham Institute gala themed The Power to Cure. Guests arrived to the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in fancy black tie attire. All for a great cause. To help raise funds for medical research, with the goal of medical disease cures.

There were many big supporters there who would not miss this evening. Peggy and Peter Preuss of the Preuss School whisked in from China, Lorenzo Berho and his family zipped in from Mexico City, and Tanya and Charles Brandes pushed back a trip to New York City to be at the gala.

Caroline and Nico Nierenberg greeting guests Marleigh Gleicher, and Tammy and Larry Hershfield


On a busy charity night in San Diego many others were there at the Burnham gala too.

Among the mix enjoying a champagne bar displayed in ice sculpture, a caviar bar, and tray passed hors d’oeuvres were Caroline Nierenberg and Kathryn Stephens, they were the Co-Chairs, Marleigh and Alan Gleicher, Jeanne and Gary Herberger, uber Burnham angel Denny Sanford, Roberta and Malin Burnham, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Audrey Geisel with her very handsome escort Larry ScotT, and Valerie and Harry Cooper.

The very fashionable were there too. Jennifer Greenfield wore a colorful Carlos Miele in reds and black, Tanya Brandes wore a fluttering black J. Mendel with train, Marleigh Gleicher wore black with flattering lace insets in the right places, Mary Drake in a regal gown by Carol Peretz, Peretz is very popular in Canada and the East Coast, Miriam Smotirch in a strikingly fitted Yigal, the designer Yigal Azrouel is her brother, Kathryn Stephens in Roberto Cavalli, Valerie Cooper wore a timeless Marc Bouwer with a lot of lot of 60’s reminiscent wow power, and Muffy Walker wore a brilliant couture green gown with a dazzling décolletage.

Dinner by Executive Chef Sebastien Layen served up a mix green an baby spinach salad with caramelized curry apples and candied pecans, a duet of beef medallion and Chilean Sea Bass with risotto  and potato gallette, and for those still hungry, a white chocolate milkshake with chocolate nougatine poured over toffee pudding.

There was a strawberry ‘lab’ station too for those who wished to have a chocolate covered strawberry injected with a cordial of your choice.

A lot of hands went up during the live auction as Bill Menish coaxed the generous, to be more generous. $50,000 to $500, it all goes to a very good cause, medical research.

Research for cures that included cancer, aging and stem cell, diabetes and obesity, children’s diseases, and infectious and inflammatory diseases to name a few.

A lot of people are banking on the brain power of exceptional scientists like those found at the Burnham. Mary and Hudson Drake had this to say. “Virtually everyone has lost a family member or friend to Cancer. The answer will be found, most likely, from the innovating research and technologies from dedicated organizations such as the Burnham Institute. The evening was a wonderful celebration of caring people with an improve  health by supporting focused research to end the toll taken on all of us by horrible diseases.”

Co-Chair Caroline Nierenberg agreed and added this. “The Burnham Gala, The Power to Cure raises money to fill a gap in funding for scientific research. This year Kathryn and I wanted to highlight the wonderful work that the Burnham scientists accomplish everyday in their laboratories. Their research in the areas of cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, heart disease, diabetes, autism, ALS, influenza, Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, (just to name a few of the diseases that are studied at the Burnham) is going to lead to discoveries that will improve the health and well being for everyone on this planet, for generations to come. There is a real art to being a scientific investigator and we wanted to show the beauty of their work.” 

And it was one very fun night too as noted by Valerie Cooper. "As November 14 may go down in San Diego history as the busiest night for charitable organizations-the Burnham Institute had one of the loveliest fundraisers chaired by Caroline Nierenberg and Kathryn Stephens. It was a night to honor those who work so hard on molecular causes of diseases and develop ground breaking therapies of tomorrow. The auction was highly received with very competitive bidding-raising a lot of money for the Burnham’s innovative research. The party had a lively atmosphere created by a lot of rocking and rolling from the band NRG and a champagne bar that continued through dinner-plus a caviar station to start the evening out. Big kudos to Caroline and Kathryn for making this such a successful and special night."

Successful it was. Nearly a million dollars was raised!


Please enjoy the photos.

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Miriam Smotrich and Mary Drake ** Muffy Walker

Valerie Cooper with Carolyn Nierenberg and Harry Cooper ** Tanya Brandes

Jennifer Greenfield and Tanya Brandes ** Kathryn Stephens and Lydia McNeil

Pauline Foster with Valerie Cooper ** Mary Drake

Valerie Cooper with Miriam Smotrich and Mary Drake ** Peter and Peggy Preuss

Charles Brandes with Jack and Judy White, and Tanya Brandes

Judy White with Tanya Brandes ** Conrad Prebys with Reena Horowitz

Jennifer Greenfield with Tanya Brandes ** Tanya Brandes with John Reed

Valerie and Colette Royston ** Larry and Tammy Hershfield

Debbie Turner and Conrad Prebys ** Miriam Smotrich

Colette Royston with Tanya Brandes ** Caroline Nierenberg with May Zawaideh

Jennifer Greenfield with Harry and Valerie Cooper

Nancy Browar

Muffy Walker with Guests

Muffy Walker with Guest

Dr. Richard Greenfield speaking with Caroline Nierenberg

Colette and Ivor Royston ** May Zawaideh with Guest

Daniela and Carla Berho with Malin Burnham

Gigi Cramer dancing ** Guests with Tanya Brandes and Malin Burnham

Jennifer Greenfield and Valerie Cooper in deep conversation

Harry and Valerie Cooper rocking out! ** Harry Cooper, Dr. Richard Greenfield, Jennifer Greenfield and Valerie Cooper

Caroline Nierenberg ** Debbie Turner and Conrad Prebys

Kathryn Stephens with Jennifer Greenfield and Lydia McNeil ** Miriam Smotrich

Jennifer Greenfield ** Muffy Walker with Harry and Valerie Cooper

Valerie Cooper with Muffy Walker ** Charles and Tanya Brandes

David and Miriam Smotrich with Larry and Tammy Hershfield, Marleigh and Alan Gleicher, and Valerie and Harry Cooper

Audrey Geisel with Larry Scott

Peter and Peggy Preuss, Founders of the Preuss School at UCSD

Charles and Tanya Brandes

Charles Brandes with Jack and Judy White, and Tanya Brandes

Irwin Jacobs with Alan and Marleigh Gleicher

A Scientifically Inspired Table Centerpiece

Guests with Valerie Cooper and Colette and Ivor Royston

Dr. Richard Greenfield with May Zawaideh ** Irwin Jacobs with Tanya Brandes

Colette Royston with John Reed

Nancy and Matt Browar

May Zawaideh

Rocio and Lorenzo Berho

Daniela and Carla Berho

Valerie and Harry Cooper, Caroline Nierenberg and Jennifer Greenfield

Valerie and Harry Cooper with Jennifer Greenfield. Caroline Nierenberg and May Zawaideh

Valerie and Harry Cooper with Jennifer Greenfield, Margo Schwab, Caroline Nierenberg, May Zawaideh and Nico Nierenberg

Valerie and Harry Cooper with Jennifer and Richard Greenfield, Caroline Nierenberg, May Zawaideh and Nico Nierenberg

Valerie and Harry Cooper with Jennifer and Richard Greenfield, Caroline Nierenberg, May Zawaideh and Nico Nierenberg

Harry Cooper with Nico Nierenberg and Jennifer Greenfield

UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox with Ivor and Colette Royston

Daniela Berho with Malin Burnham, Rocio, Carla and Lorenzo Berho

Harry Cooper and Dr. Richard Greenfield

May Zawaideh and friends

Harry Cooper and Richard Greenfield exuberant! ** Lisa Stennes-Laikind

Colette Royston with Audrey Geisel and Larry Scott

Jennifer Greenfield with Valerie Cooper

reported by Margo Schwab, pictured here with Jennifer Greenfield and Valerie Cooper

A look back to past Burnham Institute Galas

Burnham Gala 2007

Burnham Gala 2008

To learn more about The Burnham Institute for Medical Research please visit


A special thank you to May Zawaideh for having The Social Diary as her guest, and Valerie and Harry Cooper for the great company!


The Buzz


Okay so 'do you remember the time' when Michael Jackson paid a visit to La Jolla years back. Apparently the mansion in La Jolla Farms that he stayed at did a lot of paparazzi prevention including tinting key windows to prevent helicopter photos......


Blast From The Past


Pamela Anderson being so very Baywatch years back at Sea World..... she was in a cage feeding the seals for this part of the episode.



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Thank you Margo! Great coverage! - Kathryn Stephens

Loved the dresses...marge - Ralph Castro

Such a fun night - Jennifer Greenfield

Beautiful coverage of the Gala Margo. - May Zawaideh

Thank you for your wonderful coverage of the Burnham Gala!! Thank you so much Margo. Fabulous photographs!!!! - Caroline Nierenberg

Very nice!!! - Lydia McNeil

Thanks Margo - Kathryn Stephens

Party Archives




* Margo Schwab, more formally known as Margaret E. Schwab, has produced, written, interviewed and photographed for various media organizations since 1989. Schwab attended Holton Arms School, La Jolla Country Day School and La Jolla High School. Schwab has a B.A. from Scripps College, spent a business internship with S.A.I.C., Science Applications International Corporation, and earned a Masters of Business degree, M.B.A., from the University of San Diego. Schwab additionally took college courses from Harvard University, and Syracuse University. Schwab volunteers for numerous charity organizations. She also continues to support animal organizations and the prevention of people and animal abuse. Schwab is the editor of The Social Diary.

Margo Schwab and Scott Johnston of the Social Diary are pleased to announce partnerships with the San Diego Humane Society, San Diego News Network and now, San Diego Home & Garden Magazine.




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For Advertising, please

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Jordan Art Couture

& Animal Fashions by Jordan





WineSellar & Brasserie


Restaurant, Gary Parker's Wine Club,

Wine Store and

~ Wednesday & Saturday wine tasting's ~


Alex Gonzalez: 619-459-7478


Private Room Available for your Holiday Party
Cafe Milano
711 Pearl St, La Jolla
858- 454-3806