10th February, 2011

Dinner Gala Kick off

On Feb. 10th, Carol and Bill Walsh hosted the Kickoff Cocktail Reception for the San Francisco Gala Dinner.  The event was held at the elegant Walsh residence in Atherton, CA where guests gathered to greet this year's AIF Distinguished Leadership Award recipient, Bill McKiernan, Executive Chairman & Founder of CyberSource Corporation.  Honoree Bill and his gorgeous wife, Betsy, brought along a wonderful group of friends to meet AIF Directors and key supporters of this year's dinner.

They were warmly welcomed by AIF Regional Director, Marjorie Muldowney, who praised Bill for his extraordinary success since graduating from Boston College and moving to California.  Bill McKiernan  talked about his early years in New York and his ties to Mohill, Co. Leitrim, from where his grandfather emigrated in 1904, and spoke graciously about the honor he felt in accepting this Award.

John Ryan eloquently shared his reasons for supporting The American Ireland Fund and his passion for the university scholarship program that he and his wife, AIF Board Director, Pauline Ryan, have established.   Also present was Richard J. Dunn, who will receive the AIF inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gala Dinner.  Consul General Gerry Staunton attended with his wife Mary.

Other guests included Bill Walsh's daughters Suzi Tinsley and Tara Arnold, Honorary Dinner Chair Blake Burke and his wife Cammie, Dinner Committee members John McDonnell, Hon. Consul Barry O'Brien, Rita O'Hara, Jacqueline Paulin and John Ring, and Bonham's auctioneer Patrick Meade and his wife, Jennifer Hoblyn.  The McKiernan's friends were a wonderful addition to the party including Bill McCarthy, Bill Shepherd, Sharon and Chuck Perry, and Sharon & Mike Reich.

Special thanks to longtime AIF supporters Erin Doyle Ebeling, Sheila Kiernan, Nola Masterson & Bruce Jenet, Ginny & Jack Kavanaugh, Clare & Jim McGovern, and Sheila & Keith McWilliams for joining in the fun!  Clare McGovern led the singing with "When Irish Eyes are Smiling!" to round out the evening – and we all left looking forward to a very special Gala celebration on March 11th.

Sincere thanks to Carol & Bill Walsh for this delightful evening.