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KPBS Gala Returns To Downton Abbey

Signature fundraising event honors Stephen & Susan Weber, Stephanie Bergsma

— On the heels of Downton Abbey’s season 4 debut, the KPBS Celebrates! event will transport guests to 1920s England and the age of jazz. Among the planned festivities: an exclusive musical tribute to the acclaimed series.

Held at the US Grant Hotel on Saturday, January 11, 2014, KPBS Celebrates! pays tribute to the KPBS Hall of Fame inductees while also raising funds to further KPBS’ mission of providing balanced local news, important educational programming for kids, and inspiring arts and culture programs for the entire community. MASTERPIECE Downton Abbey Season Four debuts the week prior on Sunday, January 5th at 9 p.m.

Under the direction of Gala Chair Kimberly Heller, the night will take on the spirit of 1920s England through costumes, music, and design. Guests will mingle while sipping on era-inspired cocktails, bid on coveted treasures in the silent auction, and take pictures with costumed actors portraying characters from the series. A special musical tribute will be written and performed exclusively for event attendees.

“I am so excited and honored to be the Gala Chair for KPBS Celebrates!” said Kimberly Heller. “The gala is the signature event in providing funds to maintain the quality programs we all expect from KPBS. We are working diligently and enthusiastically to create a unique and delightful evening and are especially excited to present a series of themed performances created exclusively for the event.”

Photo caption: KPBS Hall of Fame - Visionaries Dr. Stephen Weber, SDSU President Emeritus an...

Photo by David Friend

Photo credit: Provided by SDSU

KPBS Hall of Fame - Visionaries Dr. Stephen Weber, SDSU President Emeritus and Mrs. Susan Weber.

As part of the event, the station will honor the 2013 KPBS Hall of Fame inductees: Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Weber, SDSU President Emeritus and Stephanie Bergsma, former KPBS Associate General Manager. The Webers have been an incredible source of support for the station during the past 17 years. Their commitment to excellence and education extended to the station, allowing KPBS leaders to take risks and invest in its public news service.

Photo caption: Stephanie Bergsma, former KPBS Associate General Manager and accomplished fun...

Photo by Spark Photography

Stephanie Bergsma, former KPBS Associate General Manager and accomplished fundraiser, at the KPBS Celebrates the Sixties gala in 2010.

KPBS Contact

Claudine Casillas (619) 594-4266

Bergsma, one of KPBS’ most accomplished fundraisers, had a 30-year career at the station and led all major funding initiatives, helping to lift KPBS into the national public media spotlight.

Darlene Marcos Shiley is the event’s Honorary Chair. “This year’s gala is even more special as we honor some very important people in the station’s history,” said Shiley. “Dr. Weber and his wife Susan have been instrumental in the station’s growth. And Stephanie Bergsma, one of the industry’s most respected fundraisers, couldn’t be more deserving of the honor.” Shiley is a major donor to KPBS and the Masterpiece Trust.

Downton Abbey continues to be one of the most popular series on television,” said KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo. “With the debut of Season 4 on January 5, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. We are thrilled to create an entirely new event and to celebrate our Hall of Fame honorees. And we are thankful for the generous support of the Honorary Committee, our Honorary Chair Darlene Shiley, our sponsors, and our Gala Chair Kimberly Heller.”

KPBS Celebrates! is sponsored by CARS, Inc., Scripps, The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, Cymer, and Jackson Design & Remodeling. Additional support is provided by Honorary Committee members Darlene Marcos Shiley (Honorary Chair), Audrey S. Geisel by way of the San Diego Foundation / Dr. Seuss Fund, Retha Evans Diener & Dr. Douglas Diener, Danah Fayman, Steven & Susan Hart, Kimberly Heller & Thomas Wilcox, Joan & Irwin Jacobs, and Conrad Prebys & Debbie Turner.

Gala tickets are $500 each or $5,000 for a table of 10. For information, visit or email Claudine Casillas, KPBS Special Events Manager.

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio and Internet content that is educational as well as entertaining—and free of commercial interruption.

Downton Abbey, Season 4 Preview

A first look at scenes from Downton Abbey Season 4 on MASTERPIECE. (Downton Abbey Season 4 premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 9pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS.)

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