As reported by The Hartford Courant, October 21, 2008.

Raising Money and Awareness

By MaryEllen Fillo

Imagine a cure for cancer. That was the mantra Saturday night during the University of Connecticut's second annual Imagine Gala at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.

"This evening is really tremendously important," said Dr.Carolyn Runowicz, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center and honorary co-chairwoman of the gala. "Research dollars are down both federally and through other organizations. And through private philanthropy we're able to support and develop new programs and continue to grow."

Honorees at the event, which benefits the Cancer Center, were Dr.Peter Deckers, recently retired as the Health Center's executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine; Michael Economos, founder of the Hartford nonprofit Lea's Foundation for Leukemia Research; and Donald "Dee" Rowe, head coach of the UConn men's basketball program from 1969 through 1977.

"This is a great evening," said Dr. Cato Laurencin, the new vice president for health affairs and dean at the UConn School of Medicine. "It's such a wonderful cause."

Guests enjoying dinner, dessert and a performance by Tony Award-winner James Naughton included UConn President Michael Hogan and his wife, Virginia; UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, a prostate cancer survivor, and his wife, Pat; and Dr. Carlos Barba, a surgeon at the Hospital of Central Connecticut and his wife, Ruby. Barba is also a cancer survivor.

During the gala, Java had a chance to chat with Virginia Hogan about some of the sports teams at UConn, including women's volleyball.

"Recently, we've had time on Sunday afternoons to go to the women's volleyball games. It's fantastic," she said. "Watch our volleyball team ... so exciting."