Chef Mark Cox will be traveling back to his roots in September to showcase his impressive culinary skills, while WVU alumna Sandy Yarish Bainum will be returning to her alma mater to perform a medley of songs as part of the 2010 Marmaduke H. Dent Dinner, a WVU Alumni Association fundraising event.

The dinner will take place Friday, Sept. 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ruby Grand Hall of The Erickson Alumni Center. The cost of the dinner is $150 per person.

This year, the Marmaduke H. Dent Dinner will feature Cox_ owner of Mark’s American Cuisine, located in the heart of downtown Houston, Texas. Mark’s features a seasonal menu, reflecting the freshest in-season ingredients; a recommended menu, suggesting the chef’s personal choices, changed twice a day; and verbal menus that change multiple times a day to showcase the best and freshest ingredients.

A native of Wheeling, W.Va., Cox began his culinary career at the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York, where he graduated at the top of his class. From there on, Cox served his apprenticeship at The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs. He later traveled to Washington, D.C., where he was part of the opening team at the Four Seasons Hotel. He later moved to Texas, where he spent 11 years with the Vallone Restaurant Group, leaving in 1996 to open Mark’s American Cuisine.

Cox has won several awards, including the “Hall of Fame” Award by Nation’s Restaurant News and Zagat’s “Best Restaurants of the World” 2009. He has also been given the “Five Star Award of Houston” five times and is an eight-time recipient of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award.

The event will also feature WVU alumna and 1981 homecoming queen Sandy Yarish Bainum who is fresh off her critically acclaimed appearance as Ellie in Signature Theatre’s production of Showboat. Sandy has appeared on Broadway and in the First National Tour of 42nd Street where she portrayed the role of Annie. In 2010, she received a Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her role as Marian Paroo in The Music Man. Most recently, she presented her new cabaret, Excuse My Dust, Dorothy Parker Sings, which features Dorothy Parker’s poetry set to original melodies by Lanny Meyers.

Last spring, Sandy presented a concert on The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. She also appeared at The Kennedy Center with Patti Luppone in Regina, Celebrate Broadway and A Taste of Tennessee. Her stage success also includes regional roles such as Lili/Kate in Kiss Me Kate, Bonnie in Anything Goes, Marty in Grease, and Mary in George M! Sandy has appeared in several television commercials and training videos. Last year, Sandy launched her first album, “Believe,” with orchestrations and arrangements by Lanny Meyers. She has performed in other cabaret performances with Mr. Meyers including Blue Skies and Sandy Sings Gershwin.

A native of Carmichaels, Pa., Sandy and her husband live in Chevy Chase, Md., and have two sons.

The Marmaduke Dent Society, founded in 1993, is named in honor of WVU’s first graduate – Marmaduke H. Dent – and recognizes the thoughtful generosity of WVU Alumni Association donors. Each year, the Alumni Association hosts a guest chef who prepares a unique meal for alumni and friends prior to a home football game.
Proceeds from the dinner benefit provide sustaining support for alumni programs and operations.

To make a reservation or to find out more about the Marmaduke Dent Society Benefit dinner, please contact the WVU Alumni Association at 304-293-4731 or visit



CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.