Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flora L. Thornton Courtyard Dedication and Open House

Thursday, February 3, 2011 -- It was a beautiful day in February.  Though a bit chilly for an outdoor evening event, I was grateful for the 0% chance of precipitation on the weather report that morning.  The whole event was coming together quite nicely, save for one really important thing -- enough power to support all the lighting we installed on Wednesday afternoon, and an electrician that was proving to be very difficult to track down. 

Every event I've planned for the music school has come with its own set of challenges, but for some reason I felt a lot more pressure from this event than Dickens.  I think part of it was the added pressure of making sure this high-profile event not only represented our school well, but also represented Flora L. Thornton well, the individual whom our school is named after.  The other part was the fact that there was no "template" to how this event was done because this was a one-time event.  You could say that this was the first time I had to take someone's vision (in this case the Dean) and make it a reality -- student guided tours, an art gallery of Flora's paintings, an unveiling, carnival lights, etc.

One thing I learned from this event is how important open lines of communication and transparency to my team are to running an event successfully.  It's not enough that I know everything that's happening during the event, because realisitically I can't communicate that information to all the guests simultaneously.  The more my team knows, the better they can serve our clients if they happen to have questions or concerns when I'm not readily available.  Not only that, it creates another layer of accountability to ensure that no details fall through the cracks. 
All that being said, we thankfully got power around 2pm, (just 3 hours before the event) and the event went very smoothly.  Guests including the USC Provost, the Thornton Family, and many of USC Thornton faculty and staff came to celebrate the exciting milestone for the music school.  The night began and concluded with student-led tours of our new facilities as well as an open gallery of Flora L. Thornton's paintings -- a hobby not many knew she had.  Guests enjoyed delicious crepes and champagne before joining the Dean and the Thornton family for the unveiling of the letters put on the courtyard.  Below are some pictures from the evening -- enjoy!


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