Annual Awards Luncheon

Friends would like thank all those who supported the 17th Annual Awards Luncheon on October 17, 2017. The event’s “Magical Menagerie” theme celebrated Friends’ acquisition of the Balboa Park Carousel. With more than 360 guests, we raised over $57,000, with net proceeds going towards future projects and programs. A number of unsung heroes were also honored at the event, and Friends of Balboa Park extends its sincerest congratulations to the honorees:

2017 Millennium Award Honorees

Arlene Simpson

Virginia Long

William Steen


2017 Inspiration Award Honorees

Melanie Flynn, San Diego Museum of Man

Barry Goldlust, San Diego History Center

Sheri Knox, San Diego Natural History Museum

Wendy Ledford, Globe Guilders of The Old Globe

Paul Meyer, Balboa Park Conservancy


2016 Awards Luncheon Inspiration

2017 Betty Peabody Emerging Young Leader of Balboa Park Honoree

Ira Bauer-Spector, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet


The event would not be possible with all our attendees, as well as generous sponsors who we encourage you to patronize when given the opportunity:


Millennium Donors

Connie K. Golden

Darlene Marcos Shiley

Stiefel-Behrer Charitable Fund


Underwriter Sponsorships

Magic Moment (Awards) provided by Marie Tuthill

Event Programs provided by All States Mailing Services, Inc.


Table Sponsors

White Ribbon Tables

Senator Toni Atkins

Nancy Carol Carter

Dean M. Crowder

Girl Scouts San Diego

Assemblymember Todd Gloria

George Hardy

Pacific Premier Bank

The San Diego Foundation

San Diego Tourism Authority

Bonnie Scott


Green Ribbon Tables

Ruth Hayward

Jim and Carmen Hughes

Marie Tuthill


Ensuring a positive visitor experience is a major goal for volunteers who regularly interface with the public. With her smile, positive attitude and consistently respectful treatment of all visitors, fellow volunteers and staff, Melanie has become a major asset to the Museum of Man. For nearly three years she’s been volunteering for the Museum on a weekly basis – donning many hats – including the ‘tall hat’ as Tower Trekker providing tours of the Park’s landmark California Tower (built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition). Additionally, Melanie can be found at virtually all of the after-hours special events and openings. She is described as caring, dedicated and loyal. Other Park institutions that have benefited from Melanie’s generous sharing of time and abilities include Mingei International Museum and San Diego Zoo Global.





“Gallery Guide” is an important position at the History Center relative to enhancing visitors’ learning. Barry is well-versed at guiding individuals and groups (mainly school children) through the expertly curated educational exhibits produced by the History Center. For almost three years, ‘Mr. Barry,’ in his capacity as a docent, has been enthusiastically engaging adults and delighting kids with a positive and fun approach to learning. His presentations are especially effective due in part to the extra research time he spends studying the relevant material contained in the Center’s immense archive to enhance his presentations. As a budding historian, Barry assists with the training of other volunteers at the History Center and its other site – The Serra Museum (perched above Mission Valley’s south rim). Recently, Barry earned a coveted spot as a trainee in the Center’s Community Historians Outreach Program.





With a love of the ocean and its creatures (especially the big ones), boundless energy and exceptional organizational skills where did Sheri surface? Eleven years ago, she did the deep dive (yes, she’s a diver) into a challenge put forth by the venerable Natural History Museum that resulted in a special start-up program. Sheri joined the “pod” – soon to be named the Museum Whalers. The group places volunteer naturalists aboard whale watching cruises. As a member of the Museum’s Whalers training committee, Sheri helped plan, prepare materials, assign tasks, and ultimately designed the famous presentation, “Best Job on Earth,” for the Whalers’ rigorous 8-week training course. Naturally, she ascended the ladder and became president of the Whalers – Sheri now serves on the steering committee where she espouses her philosophy: Be professional in all interactions and be mindful of historical perspective – build each year on past successes. Sheri’s ocean-centered volunteer activities “whale tail” nicely with her career at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.




As a legacy volunteer at the Old Globe and at other Park institutions, Wendy abidingly endeavors to add to her family’s extensive philanthropic contributions by putting forth her own ideas and tirelessly volunteering for many organizations. No task is too big or too small. Wendy’s grandmother, Irma Macpherson, was a founder, along with Craig Noel (a leading founding director of Old Globe), of “Globe Guilders,” an all-volunteer artistic and arts engagement support group, for Old Globe. Wendy continues family tradition at the Theatre; she served as Guilder president and chaired the Guilders’ annual fundraiser Celebrating Couture Fashion Show. Additionally, Wendy was named Volunteer of the Year and she received the President’s and the Founder’s Awards. Wendy is a member of Thursday Club (past president), a noteworthy group for the Park. Traditionally half of the proceeds raised from its annual rummage sale are ear-marked for use in Balboa Park.





Paul is a founding member of the Balboa Park Conservancy. He has been a devoted volunteer in Balboa Park and several of its institutions, including Old Globe Theatre (president), for decades. Paul connects with and works well with people on every level. This affable and thoughtful man was chairman of the Balboa Park Trust at the San Diego Foundation, where he also served as a member of the Board Governors. The Trust was an important component in the formation of “BPAL”, the Balboa Park Alliance. BPAL is a successful collaboration of the Trust, Committee of One Hundred and Friends of Balboa Park working on significant projects benefiting the Park as a whole. Paul is known to unfailingly help our Park when asked, utilizing his big picture perspective and solid legal expertise. He spearheaded the initiative to remove automobiles from Plaza De Panama. Paul’s vast curriculum vitae includes myriad leadership roles at organizations throughout our community and our nation.




The Betty Peabody Emerging Young Leader of Balboa Park Award

Beginning in 2016, this award recognizes exceptional promise and potential of emerging professionals who have demonstrated leadership by example in Balboa Park.


For his role in fostering broader awareness of the arts within the community – developed through the building of collaborative partnerships, and for significant contributions to the success of San Diego Civic Youth Ballet – Ira Bauer-Spector is the recipient of this year’s prestigious award. As Marketing & Communications Manager for SDCYB, Ira is responsible for media relations, graphics/ video design, and all marketing plans. He coordinates classes, budgets, and produces the annual spring ballet as well as the holiday classic, Nutcracker, for the revered group domiciled in the Park’s Casa del Prado. This young man’s impressive creativity, marketing and leadership skills, coupled with his broad range of talent, has resulted in important initiatives, including: Seven Decades of Ballet in Balboa Park (for SDCYB’s 70th anniversary), Celebrate the Power of Toys, a seven-part mini-documentary series about arts education and its role in Balboa Park, and Youth in Arts, an exhibit at the Casa del Prado Theater that involved contributions from San Diego Youth Symphony and San Diego Civic Dance Arts. Additionally, Ira is founding artistic director of Breakthrough Workshop Theatre and he has participated in several San Diego International Fringe Festivals.


Photos from the 2017 Annual Awards Luncheon

Photos from the 2016 Annual Awards Luncheon


Posted in Events.