The Brooklyn College Foundation is thrilled to announce that its signature fundraising event is back, as the “Best of Brooklyn Gala” will be held on Thursday, May 4, at 6 p.m., at The Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn. This signature fundraising event will celebrate those whose commitments to the institution have strengthened Brooklyn College’s ongoing mission to support educational equity. Proceeds from the event will support student success.

For 2023, the college will honor alumnus Anthony R. Castellanos ’85, a Brooklyn College Foundation Board Member and partner at KPMG LLP; and Aon plc, the college’s Corporate Honoree.

Anthony R. Castellanos ’85

Anthony R. Castellanos ’85

Castellanos is a first-generation Cuban American who began his career in accounting while attending Brooklyn College. As a student, he prepared tax returns and performed bookkeeping services for clients of a local accounting firm. Castellanos was an active member of the student community and campus life, serving as a member of the Brooklyn College Student Council, president of the Accounting Society, and a proud member and past president of the Beta Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Delta.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in January 1985.

Throughout his career, Castellanos has been a passionate mentor and coach to rising professionals and students, especially those from underrepresented immigrant and first-generation backgrounds. Over the years, he has mentored countless Brooklyn College students. He also established the Anthony R. Castellanos ’85 Scholarship to support Brooklyn College students majoring in accounting and enrolled in the CPA-eligible program. His deep commitment to education also led to service on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Murray Koppelman School of Business at Brooklyn College. Since 2016, Castellanos has been an active member of the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees and currently serves as chair of its Audit & Finance Committee.

The college will also celebrate its growing relationship with Aon plc, a leading global professional services firm.

In January 2022, Brooklyn College, Aon, and the Spencer Educational Fund launched a joint effort to support diversity in business. Aon’s professionals have been collaborating with Brooklyn College’s Murray Koppelman School of Business to offer guest lectures, internships, and an Aon/Spencer Educational Fund tuition award program that supports students throughout their academic journeys.

The first major milestone of this collaboration was the creation of a three-credit course on the fundamentals of risk management and insurance, which was first offered in 2022. The course introduced students to the concept of risk in the context of what households and commercial businesses face in this highly uncertain environment. In this course, students studied how risk is assessed, measured, managed, absorbed, distributed, and transferred.

Aon is also an inaugural “Platinum Partner” in the Brooklyn College Career Partners program. This new program, launched in 2022, allows businesses to invest in diverse, talented Brooklyn College students as they prepare for rewarding careers.

Aaron Olson

Aaron Olson

This work led to Aon’s EVP Aaron Olson participating in the Koppelman School of Business Executive-in-Residence program in Fall 2022. Olson, who will accept the honor on behalf of Aon at the Gala, is an executive with over 20 years of experience in the fields of leadership, strategy, and human capital. As executive vice president of Aon United Solutions, Olson works with teams across the firm to address emerging client needs such as workforce resilience and climate change.

Evan Silverstein ’76, chair of the Brooklyn College Foundation, said he was thrilled the event was returning so the college could honor those who had supported the college, particularly during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

“To be able to once again host this important event to recognize the contributions of so many people and partners who support the students of Brooklyn College is a true honor,” Silverstein said. “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Aaron Olson and Aon, Anthony Castellanos, and all of our guests and donors for helping us fulfill the essential educational mission of Brooklyn College.”

To purchase a ticket, become a sponsor, or learn more about other key supporters of the Best of Brooklyn Gala, go here.