2011 Grande Ball Set for Nov. 5

October 15, 2011

TRENTON, N.J. - On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, the Board of Directors of the Thomas Edison State College Foundation will host 20th annual Grande Ball at The War Memorial in Trenton, N.J., where three recipients will be presented with the prestigious Spirit of Edison Award.

The black-tie gala event will begin with a silent auction and cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by an evening of dinner, dancing and entertainment from 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. Visit the Foundation website for ticket and sponsorship information.

Highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the 17th Annual Spirit of Edison Awards. Dr. George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State College, will present Richard J. Gillespie with the Spirit of Edison Family Award, Kevin Tylus with the Spirit of Edison Community Leader Award and Madeleine Yates ’91 with the Spirit of Edison Distinguished Alumna Award.

“The esteemed Spirit of Edison Awards are presented each year to recognize community leaders whose creativity, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit reflect the pioneering genius of Thomas Alva Edison,” said Pruitt.

Those selected to receive the award have demonstrated that they embody the commitment to innovation, concern for public good and the spirit of excellence associated with the mission of Thomas Edison State College and its namesake. “Recognition is given to those who have made a difference at the local, national or international level, which is fitting, given the global nature of Thomas Edison State College’s higher education programs,” Pruitt added.

Criteria for the Spirit of Edison Awards include adherence to a high standard of excellence; innovation and imagination in professional life; dedication to humanitarianism and to serving the public good; devotion to the ideals of self-discipline, hard work and persistence in the pursuit of excellence; enthusiasm for the improvement of quality of life through the continued availability of higher education for adults; and distinguished service at the community, national or international level.

Richard J. Gillespie, who has been involved with Thomas Edison State College for more than 25 years serving as both board member and the chairman of the Foundation, will be honored as the recipient of the Spirit of Edison Family Award.

Gillespie is the retired founder and longtime president of Gillespie Advertising (now MRM Princeton Worldwide), an agency he started in 1973 with no clients and just $1,500 that grew into one of the 75 largest advertising agencies in the U.S. with capitalized billings in excess of $250,000,000. Active in the community, Gillespie has served for more than 40 years on the boards of various nonprofit organizations and has coached both boys and girls for more than a quarter century. He is currently a founder and board of director member of The Bank of Princeton and is partner/vice chairman of MediGuide America, a Delaware-based company providing medical second opinions through insurance firms worldwide.

Kevin Tylus, who has a distinguished career in management for one of the region’s premier financial institutions and a record of commitment to education and community service, is being honored with the Spirit of Edison Community Leader Award.

Tylus, who is the regional president for PNC Bank in central New Jersey, has also held senior executive positions with two Fortune 100 companies during his career and was a partner in a leading international consulting and accounting firm. His strong commitment to community support and development includes PNC’s “Grow Up Great” program and professional baseball’s “Tickets for Kids” and Corporate Cares” programs. Tylus serves as a trustee of the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton and Mercer County, and he co-chairs the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. His efforts have been recognized by the American Cancer Society, the Red Cross of Central N.J. and the Mercer County CYO.

Madeleine Yates, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in business management from Thomas Edison State College in 1991, will be honored as the recipient of the Spirit of Edison Distinguished Alumna Award. Yates, who directs the global marketing strategy for Wealth, Private Banking and Online Trading at Dow Jones, is actively engaged in developing prospect- and customer-focused strategies to provide premier Dow Jones news and insight in multiple languages to financial advisors, online currency/equity traders, private bankers and investors. Prior to joining Dow Jones, Yates held senior management positions with Addison, a design agency in New York, and Merrill Lynch, where, during her 18-year career, she managed successful client-focused enterprise-wide initiatives that continue to be viewed as Best-in-Industry. Yates also holds an MBA in executive management from St. Johns University.

Thomas Edison State College provides flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults. One of New Jersey’s 12 senior public institutions of higher education, the College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 100 areas of study. Students earn degrees through a wide variety of rigorous and high-quality academic methods that can be customized to meet their individual needs. Identified by Forbes magazine as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults, Thomas Edison State College is a national leader in the assessment of adult learning and a pioneer in the use of educational technologies. The College is home to The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. The New Jersey State Library is an affiliate of Thomas Edison State College. Further information about admission to the College may be obtained by calling (888) 442-8372, via e-mail at info@tesc.edu or by visiting the College website at www.tesc.edu.

Members of the media interested in covering the Gala may make arrangements through Linda Soltis at (609) 777-3083, extension 2065 or lsoltis@tesc.edu. Presentations of the Spirit of Edison Awards will begin at 7:30 p.m.