A big thank you to Cedric Kyles (Cedric the Entertainer), who has made it his personal mission to raise funds for SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. As a tribute to his late mother, Rosetta Boyce Kyles, the entertainer and his sister Sharita Kyles Wilson host an annual gala fund raiser, An Evening with Cedric the Entertainer and Friends. This year’s event, on Oct. 22, features none other than the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.

insider-Photo-DRogers3x4300dpiThis year’s Lift for Life graduates got a big shout-out from Desiree Rogers, former social secretary to President Obama! Rogers, now CEO of Johnson Publishing (Ebony, Jet), was the featured speaker at the ceremony. Lift for Life, which is tuition-free and was the first independent charter middle school in the city (now it goes through 12th), has successfully matriculated 95 percent of its graduates into higher education, technical schools or military service. Bravo!

Two W.U. researchers have received the highest honor accorded U.S scientists, election into the National Academy of Sciences. Kudos to Dr. Kenneth M. Murphy and Dr. Herbert W. Virgin IV. Murphy, at W.U. since 1984, is acclaimed for researching the way T cells work with other factors to fight infections. Virgin joined W.U. in 1990 and was named head of the pathology and immunology department in 2008. He and his colleagues were the first to successfully grow noroviruses in the laboratory. Photos courtesy of Washington University

insider-Michael-Ondaatje-new-photo-color-(credit-©Rolex-Bart-Michiels)Acclaimed author and poet Michael Ondaatje has been named 2016 recipient of the prestigious St. Louis Literary Award, given by Saint Louis University Library Associates. Established in 1967, the group recognizes a living author who enriches our literary heritage. Ondaatje, of Toronto, will be in St. Louis Oct. 6 to accept his award and $20,000 honorarium. He is the recipient of the Booker Prize for Fiction, among other awards, and the author of The English Patient and many other works. Previous award recipients include Saul Bellow, Joan Didion, James Michener and Tennessee Williams.

insider-JewishLight-LogoCongratulations to this year’s Unsung Heroes, a celebration of St. Louisans who have made selfless contributions to the local Jewish community and beyond. Sponsored by the St. Louis Jewish Light, the following were honored this year: Philip Deitch, Harvey Ferdman, Ann Frank, Susan Kalishman Goldberg, Elad Gross, Pam and Stu Katz, Betsy Mehlman, Joy Millner, Shirley Mosinger, Carl Sherman and Bonnie Solomon.

Pictured: Cedric Kyles (Cedric the Enterainer) with sister Sharita Kyles