April 29, 2014  

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
2nd Annual Legacy Leaders Spring Gala Draws 350 Attendees

Evening Honors Dr. Gus Gill, Past Chairman of Otolaryngology Dept. and Current Senior Advisor to the President

LOS ANGELES--Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) Legacy Leaders Spring Gala presented Dr. Gus Gill with the Legacy Leaders Award, Thursday, April 24 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Ballroom. This prestigious award is given to a CDU legend whose life and work embodies CDU’s history of service through education, patient care and research. Proceeds from the event will contribute to the University’s one-of-a-kind pipeline program, Saturday Science Academy II, and towards training future health providers that are as diverse as California’s population. 

At the event, Tom Salerno, president of St. Mary’s Medical Center, who represented presenting sponsor Dignity Health, announced the donation of $750,000 toward a two-year commitment to CDU. St. Mary’s Hospital is a member of the Dignity Health network, which has a history of representing the poor. Dignity Health’s Executive Vice President and COO, Marvin O’Quinn, is Chair of the CDU Board.

Dr. Gill, a board-certified otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon), is the former Chairman of the Otolaryngology Department at the Los Angeles County King-Drew Medical Center from 1978 until late 2005, and served as a faculty member at CDU.  He is a current Senior Advisor to the CDU President. Through his work with Drew Cares International, he has traveled the world and brought doctors from places as far as Suriname and Cameroon to the United States. These young people have gone on to have viable medical careers, and, in turn, empower individuals from their own communities.

Dr. Gill expressed his thanks that the event was unforgettable. “I have some wonderful memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. CDU did an exceptional job,” he said. He noted that his personal highlight was experiencing the world-renowned Williams Brothers sing directly to him. “It's been a long time since I've seen him smile so deeply,” remarked his wife, Ann.

A special surprise for Dr. Gill was the CDU Board’s naming of “Dr. Gus Gill Way”, revealing signage that will be installed along the walkway he traversed daily from the hospital to his office.

As part of the evening’s entertainment, Ashly Williams, a much-viewed finalist on the television show X Factor, noted that she was a graduate of King Drew Medical Magnet high school before singing a selection of sultry songs.

CDU President Dr. David M. Carlisle warmly greeted CDU students, faculty, administrators, sponsors and supporters as they lined up for the red carpet and later took their seats to participate in the evening’s festivities.

“Dr. Gill has been an ambassador for the University, training some of the best and brightest physicians in the country and inspiring young people from across the globe to make a difference in the health field,” he said in his speech honoring Dr. Gill. Dr. Carlisle listed 16 countries which Dr. Gill has visited and made an impact.

The 350 attendees included L.A. County Supervisor Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assemblyman Steven Bradford, actress Judy Pace, and The California Endowment President Bob Ross.

The Spring Gala sponsors were: Presenting Sponsor: Dignity Health; Gold Sponsors: Kaiser Permanente and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine; Silver Sponsors: Walgreens, Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, The California Endowment and Comerica Bank and a host of other Table and Friend Sponsors. The Los Angeles Sentinel is the Gala’s official media sponsor.

View photos from the event at

Dr. Gill’s Family

Emcee Toni Guinyard (NBC4) flanked by (from left) Assemblyman Steven Bradford, Dr. David M. Carlisle (CDU President) and Dr. Gus Gill (Honoree)

Title Sponsor Dignity Health: Tom Salerno (left) and colleagues from Saint Mary’s Medical Center

Dr. Gill chatting with MC Toni Guinyard during his tribute

Dawn Patton, Dr. Gill and his wife Ann, Angela Minniefield, VP, CDU, and L.A. County Supervisor Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas

Dr. Ross, California Endowment, Dr. Gus Gill and L.A. County Supervisor Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas
Entire Gallery:





Jessica Gelzer
(w) 323.892.2080  (c) 818.399.4088


Attention Editors: Photos available at .


About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the best performaer in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians by the Greenlining Institute. For more information, visit


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