On May 16, the <strong><a href="http://www.seo-usa.org/" target="_blank">Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)</a></strong> celebrated their 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary with an awards dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. The dinner benefited SEO Scholars, SEO Career and SEO Alternative Investments, raising nearly $1.8 million. More than 1,000 guests networked, dined and witnessed the success stories of students, many from challenging circumstances in urban communities, who beat the odds to not only attend top schools in the U.S., but graduate and become employed at Fortune 500 companies.
Hosted by CNBC's Seema Mody (pictured), the SEO also honored Henry R. Kravis; Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio; and Kelly M. Williams of The Customized Fund Investment Group.
(Images: Rick Gilbert / <strong><a href="http://skyhookphotography.photoshelter.com/" target="_blank">Skyhook Entertainment</a></strong>)
“The goal of SEO remains what it’s always been: to demonstrate that ethnic background and socio-economic status do not pre-determine a young person’s future,” said William Goodloe, President and CEO of SEO.
Guests at the event included iconic filmmaker and author Melvin Van Peebles.
Aliya LeeKong, chef and culinary creative director at Junoon, New York, and Aren LeeKong, managing director at Highbridge Principal Strategies, attended in support of SEO.
Journalist RaVal Davis and BlackEnteprise.com associate producer Janell Hazelwood were guests at the SEO's awards dinner.
Julian Johnson, SEO's senior vice president, is seen here with Erika Irish Brown, SVP and enterprise diversity recruiting and program management executive at Bank of America, and Lofton Holder, partner at Pine Street Alternative Asset Management.
Robert J. McCann, SEO awards dinner chair and CEO of UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) and wife, Cindy McCann enjoyed the event.
SEO board chair Walter Booker is seen here with SEO founder Michael Osheowitz and SEO CEO William Goodloe.
Henry Kravis, co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., was an honoree and is seen here with wife, Marie Josee Kravis, economist and philanthropist.
SEO awards dinner honoree Julián Castro, mayor of San Antonio, is seen here with real estate powerhouse Juny Francois.
SEO scholars and alumni are seen here with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.
<strong><em>For more information on Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), visit their <a href="http://www.seo-usa.org/" target="_blank">Website.</a></strong></em>