Palm Beach Atlantic University will honor Audrey Gruss and Laurie Silvers as Women of Distinction at a luncheon Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at The Breakers, Palm Beach. A pre-luncheon reception begins at 11:15 a.m.; the luncheon follows at noon.
Tickets, at $200 each or tables of 10 for $2,000, may be obtained from the Palm Beach Atlantic University Development Office by calling (561) 803-2971 or can be purchased online. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit a scholarship fund for female students at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Palm Beach resident, Audrey Gruss is president of the Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation, which she established 30 years ago with her husband, Martin, to support charitable activities in the cultural arts, education and medical research. In operating the foundation, Gruss brings her considerable skills of executive experience in the fields of international marketing and advertising to the non-profit arena. She was the former co-owner and president of Terme di Saturnia, Inc., an international scientific skincare firm, and held executive positions at J.P. Stevens and Elizabeth Arden, as director of advertising and creative services worldwide.
Gruss is the president of Hope Fragrances International and founder and chairman of the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF), which she established in 2006 in memory of her late mother Hope, to fund pioneering neuroscience research into the origins, new treatments and prevention of depression. Gruss was awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy from the University of Haifa, for her courage and perseverance in creating a research foundation to support this visionary mission.
She graduated with honors from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. A fellow of Tufts University, she established the Audrey Butvay Gruss Science Award for women.
In Palm Beach, Gruss served on the executive committee of The Intracoastal Health Foundation Board and raised $34 million for St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan Hospital expansion for which she received the 1998 Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce Charitable Achievement Award. She was chairman of the 2000 Bicentennial Gala of the Norton Museum of Art and ORBIS International’s annual gala, and co-chairman of annual fundraising benefits for St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan Hospital, the Hospice Guild of Palm Beach and the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties. She is a board member of the Hospice Guild and The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, and is a founder member of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
Internationally, Gruss is a board member of the American Friends of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. She serves on the advisory board of FAI, the premier architectural preservation group in Italy, and is a member of the International Council of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.
Laurie S. Silvers practiced law in South Florida for over 10 years before starting her career as a media entrepreneur. Silvers was the co-founder of the SyFy Channel, of which she served as chief executive officer from January 1988 to March 1992 and co-vice chairman from March 1992 to March 1994. She is the co-CEO of Hollywood.com, a leading celebrity news and entertainment information provider. She is also a majority owner of eSports Holdco, LLC, an eSports organization which owns the Misfits and Mayhem teams in the U. S. and Europe. Silvers is an owner of Treasure and Space Coast Broadcasting, which operates six radio stations on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Silvers, who lives in Boca Raton, is a member of the board of trustees of the University of Miami where she is a member of the executive committee and serves as chair of the investment committee. She is vice-chair of the board of directors of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and chair of the development committee; she is immediate past co-chair of South Florida PBS, the public broadcasting station for South Florida. She also serves on the PBS Foundation Board in Washington, D.C.
She is a member of the board of the United Way of Palm Beach and a past chair of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. She is also a volunteer mentor with the "Women of Tomorrow" program, which mentors at-risk high school girls, and is a member of their national board. She was a recent recipient of the Women of Tomorrow Empowerment Award.
She was the 2011 recipient of the Sun Sentinel's Excalibur Award and of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Palm Beach County Chapter 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist Award. She is also the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Grand Honorary Chairwoman of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Promise Fund “Perfect Pink Party.”
Silvers has been a featured speaker at Harvard Business School, Duke University and the University of Miami School of Law. She and her husband endowed the Rubenstein-Silvers Hillel at Duke University, and at the University of Miami School of Law the Rubenstein-Silvers Building is named in their honor.
The luncheon is an annual event that honors women who have made significant contributions to the community. The list of previous honorees is comprised of women who support healthcare, education, community development, the arts and animals.