Board Chair Greg Faulkner, Tammera Faulkner, Mary Werft, and President/CEO Ron Werft | Credit: Gail Arnold

Last Saturday night, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation held its annual ritzy Tiara Ball at, appropriately enough, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. About 500 guests attended what the invite billed as the “Party of the Year,” most in black tie or gown with a smattering of tiaras in the crowd. In a town with no shortage of black tie events, this certainly ranked among the most elegant and from the sounds of laughter throughout the cocktail hour, one of the more enjoyable ones too.

The event’s net proceeds will support the hospital’s critical care services, which include the Emergency Department, Trauma Services, and Intensive Care Units (Medical, Surgical, Pediatric, and Neonatal). The event grossed about $620,000.

Guests mingled inside and out during the cocktail hour before adjourning to the Ballroom, which once again was transformed into a breathtakingly beautiful space. The room was framed with sumptuous draperies lit with a rich purple tone, upon which 11 big screens high above projected images of gorgeous flowers.  Solid soft-color and floral table linens complemented the projections. Gracing all tables were centerpieces featuring giant synthetic ivory flowers, many placed on tall pedestals illuminated by hanging lights in clear spheres.

Board Chair Greg Faulkner welcomed guests and thanked the many people who make possible the Tiara Ball and the Hospital, including four-term Host Committee Chair Alex Nourse and her committee, the dedicated Cottage employees, outstanding medical staff, and administrative leadership. He noted how unusual it is for a community of our size to have a teaching hospital, Level 1 Trauma Center, and such a broad scope of clinical services. Faulkner expressed gratitude to community members who have given generously in time and money for the continuation and improvement of critical health care in our community. 

President and CEO Ron Werft shared with guests that after 15 years of rebuilding, all new construction on Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been completed and the $820 million project was completed on time and on budget. Werft extolled the new buildings, along with the great physicians and dedicated and compassionate staff, and noted, among other impressive stats, that Santa Barbara and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospitals are ranked by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the top 9 percent.

Werft briefly touched on some new initiatives, including direct-to-consumer virtual care and an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in support of its Neurosciences Institute that will open this year. In the next several years, there will be an Advanced Simulation Training Center to support the educational needs of caregivers, and a potential expansion of the medical residency programs.

Werft related how the 1/9 Debris Flow reinforced the importance of planning for community-wide emergencies and turned to the Coronavirus. He reassured guests that the leadership team is meeting daily to monitor and prepare for evolving needs. Werft pointed out the incredibly talented infectious disease physicians on staff, including Dr. David Fisk, and remarked that Cottage has adequate facilities, staff, and supplies and it will protect its caregivers if and when the need arises.  

He expressed his gratitude for guests’ support of the rebuilding project and explained how proceeds from the Tiara Ball will help complete a redesign and remodel of the Emergency Department (ED), which will separate the workflow for those with serious medical emergencies from those with lower acuity. The old ED was designed to treat 25,000 patients annually – the new one, opening by the end of the year, will have the capacity to treat more than 70,000 patients annually. In 2019, the Emergency Department at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital served 47,600 patients.

The extravagant evening ended with guests dancing into the night to music by the band Lowdown.

For coverage of other events, go to Send invites to

Former board chair Robert Nourse, Host Committee Chair Alex Nourse, and VP for Advancement Dave Dietrich
Lead sponsors the Bollag Family: Ben, Naomi, Tracy, and Michael Bollag
Former boardmember Bob Andrews and Host Committee Member Margaret Wilkinson
Former boardmember Chip Turner and Host Committee Member Betsy Turner
Brian King and major sponsor Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree.
Betsy and Shaun Cleary
Sarah Kass and Director, Medical Oncology, Ridley-Tree Cancer Center Dr. Fred Kass
Guests enjoy the reception.
Guests enjoy the reception.


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