Columbia University's Crown Awards

November 2020. Virtual

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) celebrated its annual Crown Awards virtually this year. Empire was honored to produce the first-ever virtual benefit program dedicated to honoring Columbia’s front line heroes who valiantly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic: doctors, nurses, physicians, researchers, administrative and support staff.

The evening program was hosted by VP&S alumna and ABC News Chief Health and Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton. It also featured remarks by Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University, Dr. Steven M. Corwin, President and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, and included contributions from Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Mrs. Diana Vagelos expressing thanks to the partners, friends, and supporters of Columbia.

Accepting the 2020 Crown Award was Dean Emeritus of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine (VP&S) and Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Dr. Lee Goldman, whose leadership was transformational for the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The award paying tribute to his 14-year tenure was presented by Anil K. Rustgi, Interim Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine; and Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC).

The program also featured musical performances by VP&S students. Brian Stokes Mitchell and his pianist, Tedd Firth, closed the night with songs such as “The Wheels of a Dream,” “Feeling Good,” and “The Quest” to highlight the evening’s uplifting theme and occasion.

Empire worked closely with the Columbia team to create the overall event, implement design and run of show, coordinate and record all speakers and talent (safely in-person and remote), and oversee the technical production and livestream.

Empire also created the microsite with elegant textures to host the livestream. The site featured a colorful, clean format with digital program and donate link above the program player window.

Empire is a leading producer of virtual awards ceremonies and fundraisers, special feature video productions, and more. We are proud to support Columbia’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

To learn more and donate, please visit

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