Barry took the stage after the video, and spoke in more detail about how Let’s Get Ready helped her make a smooth transition from high school to campus life. “Let me tell you, it’s nothing like it is on TV,” she said. “My Transition Coaches made sure that I was keeping track of my financial aid and accepting awards. They helped me with financial literacy, like the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans. They made sure that I was organized over the summer and did not forget about choosing classes in the fall. They provided me with information on where to buy textbooks, because bookstore textbooks are not cheap.” The experience motivated Barry to serve as a Transition Coach, herself last summer. “I felt that it was important to let students know what people like us do to make it in life.”
Following a live auction, David Carey, President of Hearst Magazines, delivered a keynote address in which he recalled growing up in Long Beach, California, as the son of first-generation Americans who had not attended college. In 1980, prior to a tenfold explosion in college applications, he was able to combine a part-time salary and student loans to pay what was then a much lower in-state tuition rate at UCLA. “But fast-forward to today, there’s no way I would be able to attend UCLA without the support of an organization like Let’s Get Ready,” he said. He reflected on his rise in the media industry and credits working for his college paper as a vital stepping stone.
“Going to college is the greatest economic elevator the world has ever seen, and the importance of that should not be understated,” said Carey. “But it’s important to set aside the data that college graduates make more money, because college isn’t just about money–it’s about behaviors, analysis, and training needed to tackle complexities in life and in our community. College graduates are also more likely to send their own children on to college. So the work we’re doing tonight gets paid forward for generations.”
To the delight of the many sports enthusiasts in attendance, the evening’s honoree, NBA Chief Operation Officer and Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, was introduced by a surprise guest: 1994 All-Star and New York Knicks legend John Starks. Starks praised Tatum as a thoughtful, insightful leader who has pushed the NBA into becoming a global league that touches every continent.