Discovery Dinner to Honor Chef Lidia Bastianich and Human Rights Activist Kerry Kennedy

News Story: March 1, 2009

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, left, and Kerry Kennedy
will be the honorees at SHU's 20th Annual Discovery
Awards and Scholarship Dinner on April 22nd.

Sacred Heart University will host its 20th Annual Discovery Awards and Scholarship Dinner on Wednesday, April 22nd, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich.

The gala honors notable individuals while raising funds for SHU’s Discovery Scholar Grants, which provide a tuition-free education to low-income students in Fairfield County. The Discovery Scholar Grants, established in 2008, allow Sacred Heart University to make financial assistance available to SHU students who reside in Fairfield County and have an annual family income at or below $50,000. The plan provides each qualified student with 100% tuition coverage.

This year’s honorees include acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and human rights activist and best-selling author Kerry Kennedy.

SHU’s Discovery Dinner invites the community to recognize and celebrate the gifts of caring and accomplished people—those who embody the tradition of the University in their lives. They represent a wide diversity of professions but hold in common a passion for excellence and a devotion to their fellow citizens. Each is truly an educator showing by example the inestimable value of learning, leadership and service.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and Public Television cooking show host. Her latest series, Lidia’s Italy, was nominated for an Emmy in 2008. She is also the host and author of several earlier series and companion books including Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen and Lidia’s Italian Table. Lidia’s Family Table was nominated for Best National Cooking show in 2007. In addition to over ten years with Public Television, Lidia is well known for her acclaimed restaurants including the three-star Felidia and Del Posto restaurants in New York, the popular theater restaurant Becco and Lidia's restaurants in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Active in a number of charitable causes, including the James Beard Foundation, Public Television, and work with autistic children, she added another accomplishment to her resume when she cooked for Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United States.

Kerry Kennedy is the founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, which works to advance Robert Kennedy’s vision of international human rights. She has led delegations to more than 40 countries and chairs Amnesty International’s Leadership Council. A graduate of Brown University, she earned her law degree from Boston College. Kennedy has been a vocal activist for human rights since 1981. Her writings include Speak Truth to Power, which explores the lives of important human rights advocates, and Being Catholic Now, the New York Times best-seller that shares the views of 37 prominent Americans on change in the Church and the quest for meaning. She brought “Speak Truth to Power” to Sacred Heart last year and will return to campus to discuss her latest book in March.

Dave Price, weatherman and a feature reporter for CBS News' The Early Show, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. Event chairs are Sacred Heart University Trustees Mark E. Freitas, president & COO of Frank Crystal & Company; Linda McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment; and Bill Mitchell, vice chairman of Mitchells of Westport and Richards of Greenwich.

The gala event begins with a reception at 6:00 p.m. followed by the dinner program at 7:00 p.m.

Over the past 20 years, the Discovery Dinner has raised millions of dollars for financial assistance to deserving scholars, and last year, the event raised more than $675,000 for Discovery Scholar Grants.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Individual tickets are $500. All proceeds will benefit Sacred Heart University’s Discovery Scholar Grants for eligible Fairfield County students.

For more information and reservations, visit the Discovery Dinner website or call 203-396-8086.