Paul Anka was a surprise guest last night at the 12th Annual Jefferson Gala at the Marriott Downtown, which honored Sidney Kimmel. At one point, Anka brought Kimmel on stage, and they sang a duet to the tune of “My Way,” but with the words changed to reflect Kimmel’s generosity and his love for his wife, Caroline.
The evening started off with a cocktail party, where smartly dressed guests enjoyed catching up with old friends and thanking the Kimmels for their generous $110 million donation to Thomas Jefferson University, which will rename its medical school the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. A record 950 guests — who raised a record $1.2 million — dined on autumn salad and mushroom stuffed chicken before the program started with 6ABC’s Jim Gardner acting as master of ceremonies.
Caroline Kimmel, who looked stunning in Alexander McQueen, spoke about her husband, calling him a renaissance man who would always consider Philadelphia his home: It’s where he grew up, where they met, and where many of their good friends live.
Dr. Stephen K. Klasko welcomed the guests and thanked the Kimmels for their largesse; Klasko promised to deliver maximum return on the investment with the same class and integrity that the donation was given. He said it would allow them to continue to re-imagine the possibilities for Jefferson, and make a difference in many people’s lives.
Finally Sidney Kimmel spoke to the crowd, telling them how his grandparents were the first in his family to seek care at Jefferson Hospital, and even then it was the best care, with a lot of consideration. He thanked them for the honor, and said this honor really belongs to his wife, his great love, Caroline Kimmel, who gives him joy with her unending positive outlook on life, it was she who encourages him to spread joy all around.